Wiping up after a harried breakfast this morning, I noticed my kitchen sponge looked as if it had been ravaged by a wild animal. It smelled a little like a wild animal, too. Not good.

Funny how the very thing we use to clean our pots and pans can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. To avoid unwelcome critters, be sure to rinse and squeeze sponges dry after use. Bacteria are plum crazy about moisture, so a dry sponge is better than a wet one. In addition, deep clean your kitchen sponges regularly using one of these three methods:

1.Microwave 

Pop wet sponges into the microwave for two minutes. Allow them to cool completely, rinse with fresh water and give them a good squeeze.

2. Dishwasher 

Put sponges into the dishwasher before you run it and leave them in there for the entire cycle.

3. Sponge Bath 

Soak sponges in a bowl of hot water with a 10 percent bleach solution. This last method is far less effective but works in the absense of modern appliances.