As a novice cook I am looking to perfect my approach to cleaning and disinfecting various things I use to handle raw meat such as cutlery, tongs, large knives, plates, bowls and cutting boards to ensure that no harmful bacteria is spread.

I clean, then disinfect. During the cleaning stage, your sponge or dishbrush can come into contact with the harmful bacteria. Does this mean you should throw those things out after? Or do you keep them and disinfect them as well? How do you clean your cleaning tools?

Currently I buy large amounts of cheap sponges and chuck them out after I have used them to clean (I know this is wasteful). Then, to disinfect, I spray everything with hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes.

I am not happy with my approach so I am looking for advice on how to improve.

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of How can I ensure food safety if my cooking utensils have touched raw meat?
    – Allison C
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 18:46
  • 7
    Disinfection is a step too far (unless you're immunodepressed). Washing and letting dry is enough.
    – Jeffrey
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 18:47
  • 1
    I don't think this is a true dupe. The other is more concerned with cross-contamination during the cooking process. This is more of a clean up afterwards.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 6:45

2 Answers 2


Personally I just use hot water and soap. Generally bacteria don't last long on surfaces that have been thoroughly cleaned with soap and dried.

Also, if you're using a wooden cutting board once it's dry 99.9% of any bacteria on there will be dead.

If you're concerned about this though this review recommends:

  1. Keep the sponge away from raw meat. "If you're dealing with raw juices from meat or poultry, you should be using paper that can be disposed of," Quinlan says.

  2. Don't keep sponges around for too long. "I replace mine every one to two weeks," she says. "That's reasonable to me."

  3. Clean the sponge every few days. The USDA recommends putting it in the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle, or wetting the sponge and popping it in the microwave for a minute.

  • 3
    I long ago gave up on sponges because you just can’t get stuff out of them that gets in. I have reverted to cotton dishcloths, which have the benefit of being very bleachable. In normal use my dishcloths get used for a couple of days then go in a hot wash with kitchen towels and aprons. I tend to have a few dishcloths in circulation, and every few week I dump them in a bowl of bleach overnight. Any time I use one for raw meat clean-up that trigger a bleach-bath for all.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 8:06

(Assuming you wash by hand, if you have a dishwasher, just put everything in ... )

Just use plain'ol dishwasher soap and hot water.

If you have really dirty dishes, scrub them them first before washing them; so that the water you use to wash them after will be clean(er).

In general, Keep a clean cooking environment.

Your cleaning equipment (brush, scrubbing pads, sponges...) should be replaced on a regular basis, especially sponges.

If you like using sponges, you could put them in the microwave (one of many ways to clean them) to sanitize them.

For cutting boards (you should be using wooden ones), just clean them up by scrubbing them lightly with salt and lemon and rinse and dry.

  • Nice tip about microwaving sponges. Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 19:35

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