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Here’s how Often You Should Replace Your Kitchen Supplies – Especially that Sponge

We all love to check the expiration date on the food items in the fridge and pantry, but what about the kitchen supplies that don’t exactly come with a replacement date? Microbiologists say that everything in your kitchen has a lifespan and needs to be chucked out sooner or later – especially that sponge you use to wash your dishes. Here’s how often you should replace the supplies in your kitchen, according to experts.

Sponges and Dish Towels

When they should be replaced: Every day (if you can)

We’ve been told that all bacteria are dangerous for health which is why it makes sense to chuck out your dish-washing sponge and replace it with a new one every day. Ph.D biology professor Elizabeth Scott says that most people talk about germs without really knowing what they’re saying. Not all of these microbes pose a threat to your health; it is only when they appear in the wrong places at the wrong time, can they cause diseases and infections.

Most microbes are harmless but somehow, they’ve all been grouped together and labeled as germs which can create a certain phobia in people while using supplies in the kitchen like the dish towels and sponges. It’s true that we need to practice good hygiene in the kitchen to protect our food from contamination, but that doesn’t mean that we must resolve to removing every single microbe from our environment. Simply ensuring that the sponge we use to wash the dishes and the sink are as dry as they can be to prevent bacterial growth.

For most of us, it’s not ideal to replace the sponge every day, which is why Dr. Scott suggests decontaminating it daily with hot water and soap before getting started with washing the dishes. For cleaning the wet counter, she suggests using recycled paper towel instead of the sponge since any traces of contaminants on the counter from raw meats could latch on to the sponge and then spread to the clean dishes.

Spice Rack

When they should be replaced: One to two years

We all have at least one spice container that has been lurking in the pantry since forever – maybe it’s finally time to throw it out? Experts say that the average shelf life of powder spices is 6-8 months whereas whole spices can last anywhere between 1 to 2 years. So while spices like nutmeg and whole black pepper can stay in your pantry for ages without losing their flavor, the same can’t be said about ground powders like paprika and turmeric.

Cutting Boards

When they should be replaced: When they wear out

It’s important that you keep a few different cutting boards for chopping meats and vegetables separately so that you don’t cause any cross-contamination. Once you’re finished using them, clean them thoroughly with hot water and soap before patting them dry with a clean dish towel.

If you want to go a step further, the USDA recommends using a tablespoon of chlorine to thoroughly clean the cutting boards. If they’re completely worn out and developed deep cuts which are difficult to clean, replace them with new cutting boards.

Pots and Pans

When they should be replaced: Non-stick kind last for 5 years

You’ve probably seen your grandmother using the same cast iron pots and pans to cook Sunday brunches and holiday feast since you were born, but don’t expect the same shelf-life from the modern non-stick cookware. A report by TheKitchn says that non-stick pans and pots need to retire after 5 years since the top coat starts to peel off and mix with the food which can be seriously harmful for your health.

Other Appliances

What about the expensive appliances in your kitchen? Can you keep them till you die and pass them on to the next generation as part of your will? You probably could, but in the ever-changing world of technology that we live in, you’ll probably want to replace your appliances when the next snazzy thing comes out. So it doesn’t really depend on how long your appliances will last, rather, how willing you are to adopt to new technology.

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