Kitchen Sink Guide for Cleanup and Fixture

Every homeowner will eventually face some form of plumbing problem especially from the kitchen sink. This is because the kitchen sink is one of the most often used part of the home plumbing system. Of course it is understandable that a professional plumber may not be called every instance that a problem arises. However, if it concerns things like backed up drains or low water pressure, then you need to call on a professional. What other things should you be concerned of when it comes to your kitchen sink?

What problems usually arise in kitchen sink?

Speaking of problems with the kitchen sink, one common cause of concern would have to be the plumbing pipes. The good thing with kitchen pipes is that they are easily accessible so if you need to do some minor work it would not be that difficult.

Aside from the savings on money, small problems can be solved faster. There are also the common problems of worn out washers or O-rings that result in faucet leaks. Since these parts are easy to buy and no specialty tools are really needed, you can do the repairs on your own. To make the repairs easier, take note of the brand of your faucet to make sure that you get the correct replacement parts. Just make sure to turn off the water supply to the faucet before attempting to replace any of the worn out or broken parts.

It is important to point out though that not all problems in the kitchen has to do with your plumbing. There are also other problems on your kitchen sink that you should be equally concerned about. This has to do with your kitchen sponge. Look at it, does it look dirty and disgusting? How often do you clean or replace it? Did you know that your kitchen sponge can be 200,000 times dirtier than the toilet seat in your bathroom?

That is quite disturbing information especially when you consider that these sponges touch your dining plates, cups, saucers, and virtually everything that comes in contact with your food and gets into your mouth. In one research it was revealed that a sugar cube sized bacteria on the sponge can have as many as 54 billion bacteria cells. This level of density is equivalent to that found in feces.

In fact, the research insists that majority of the bacteria hosted in your kitchen is from the sponges. These sponges are even considered as the biggest source of active bacteria in your entire house. Shouldn’t that be a cause for concern?

How to clean up

How do you deal with these bacteria reservoirs other than outright throwing them out? Do you stop using sponges altogether? Fortunately, that is not the case, there are some things that can be done to help place these risks under control.

One of the most effective ways is to use a bleach solution that is capable of killing 99.9% of all types of bacteria strains found in sponges. This will allow you to adhere to the standards for sanitation for non-food contact surfaces are recommended by the EPA. All you have to do is to mix 3/4 cups of bleach to a gallon of water and leave the sponge there for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a full-strength vinegar to soak a sponge for 5 minutes will help kill 99.6% of the bacteria present. You can also use full-strength ammonia for the soaking solution to get rid of 97% of the bacteria. If you clean the sponge using the washing machine, it eliminates 93% of the bacteria.

Some have even suggested using the dishwasher or the microwave in cleaning dirty sponges. These methods helped eliminate 99.9% of the germs. Unfortunately, these methods are not as effective when it comes to the elimination of the risks caused by E. coli and salmonella bacteria.

It is not always about cleaning sponges. It is as valuable to know how to use them properly in cleaning greasy pots and pans. When done properly, it helps to minimize the amount of dirt that stays on the sponge. How do you do it?

  1. 1. Place a few squirts of soap into the pan. You may use foaming soap, which is cheaper compared to liquid dishwashing soap.
  2. 2. Move your hands around the soapy area to remove the grease and grime before using the sponge to scrub it out.
  3. 3. Rinse the pan and check if it still feels greasy. If it does, then repeat Step 2.
  4. 4. Once the greasy feel has been eliminated, add a little more soap to the pan and use the kitchen sponge to give it a through clean.

By using this method, you prevent the grease and grime from sticking and being absorbed by the sponge. This also allows it to remain clean longer and a little less soap is used in the process.

How to avoid future problems

Cleaning sponges of course will not help prevent future problems. It will however minimize the unwanted condition of bacteria in your sponges. What should be done in order to avoid future problems?

First off, store the sponges in a dry location. It is not enough that you wring it out after every use, but it must also be kept in a dry location. Leaving the sponge on the countertop not only takes a longer time to dry, but also gives the harmful bacteria the chance to multiply faster. Keeping the sponges in an enclosed container or area like a bucket or under the kitchen sink will also contribute to bacteria growth.

Now, regardless how diligently you clean your kitchen sponges, it will not remain in that state forever. This means that you will inevitably have to toss it out in about a two to three weeks depending on your actual usage. No amount of sanitation alone will be enough to combat the general bacteria that can potentially grow on the sponge.

Some studies suggests that regularly sanitized sponges contain the same amount of bacteria as uncleaned ones. The more frequent you use the sponge, the faster it should be replaced. So essentially, you may need to replace your kitchen sponges every week.

In the context of limiting bacteria presence and growth on your kitchen sponges, it also helps to know what things to avoid.

  • – Meat juices should never be wiped or cleaned using kitchen sponges. Why? This is because the sponge can actually increase the possibility of spreading potentially harmful foodborne pathogens. For cleaning up meat juices, use paper towels or better yet, disinfectant wipes to ensure that the bacteria does not spread around your home.
  • – The same can be said when cleaning countertops. Sponges can contain millions of bacteria and using it to clean your countertops can lead to the spreading of germs that can get people sick. To avoid the spread of bacteria and germs, use paper towels or wipes. This effectively reduces the possibility of cross-contamination.
  • – Never trade-in your kitchen sponges for dishcloths. Despite being less porous, dishcloths can serve as host to harmful bacteria that will get you sick. If you do need to use dishcloths, make sure to wash it in hot water and completely dry it off using high heat. When sticking it out with sponges, make sure that you use a different sponge for every purpose.

As you can see, dealing with kitchen sink problems is more of an issue of common sense. So if you have problems with your sponges, just follow these tips and you should be safe. When having problems with your kitchen plumbing, call Scott English Plumbing.