9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 19, 2012 7:53 AM by gmajay RSS

    Sponges not okay?

    msdebj Senior Contributor

      A recent guest sent me an email saying she could not locate any dishclothes (she called them dishrags) in the kitchen, only sponges and a dish scrub brush.


      I provide a new sponge in th kitchen for each rental group, and there is a clean unopened back up one under the sink.


      Is this a regional thing?  I've never used 'dish rags" in my own home.  I'm not too fond of having to provide dish clothes.





        • Re: Sponges not okay?
          jan.stevens Community All-Star

          Debj, It might be a regional thing as I only provide a clean "dish cloth" and no sponges.



          • Re: Sponges not okay?
            tyann Contributor

            Maybe regional or just what some people are used to. We provide dishcloths, but not sponges.


            Tyann Marcink

            Nature's Retreat and Canyon Retreat | Vacation Home in Branson

            Website Design and Photography | Marcink Designs

            • Re: Sponges not okay?
              thaxterlane Senior Contributor

              I provide a new sponge for each rental, in a sealed package on the kitchen sink.  Extras are stored in the cabinet beneath the sink. 


              I supply dish towels and paper towels.  I believe this covers all kitchen washing needs.


              I avoid dish cloths because I am concerned about odor and guests leaving soiled, moist cloths sitting about the kitchen (and house).  They need to be laundered and it's anyone's guess what a guest could mop up with a dish cloth.  A sponge is simply thrown away.  Easy. 


              Also, a sponge is less likely to leave the sink or counter, can't be used for major clean up, and  paper towels do a wonderful job of cleaning up a mess. 


              That's my take - everyone has their own preference and reason for their preference. 

                • Re: Sponges not okay?
                  msdebj Senior Contributor

                  Thanks for the input! I'm sticking with sponges, and paper toweling.   It may not be very green (paper towels), but  the idea of a dish cloth hanging around and being used over and over ( cleaning counters, then dishes, etc.) is not something I want to deal with.  I'm thinking that the bleach to  disinfect a dishcloth is not something I want to do right now.


                  I can't tell you how many dish TOWELS I go through each season because they seem to get used for EVERY thing. Sponges-- yep- toss a ways.


                  I love these forums! Thanks!


                • Re: Sponges not okay?
                  anja Senior Contributor

                  Sponges are just fine!


                  What IS a "dish rag"?  That's got to be not only regional but perhaps "generational"?  One thought:  Maybe she recycles old 'dish towels' to actually wash the dishes with? Some people are very frugal in that way. Nothing wrong with that -- but "rag" is not a term we would be thinking  of when we supply our incredibly thoughfully stocked guest accommodations.


                  My guests come from various countries {heavily from Europe}, so I have the items anyone in North America or Europe would be familiar with in a kitchen.  My first Scandinavian guests asked me where the "dish pan" was {they use a 'dish pan' they put down into the sink with a dish brush to do the washing up}.   And, as I lived many years overseas, I'm also influenced by how I did things in my "other home" in Europe. So, I just provide the "tools" common to most people as my cottage does not have a dish washer. For each individual guest party, I provide a new {packaged} dish sponge, a clean Rubbermaid dish pan/basin, long-handled dish brush, nice dish towels  {for drying dishes}, paper kitchen towels {and whatever other paper articles a home kitchen would have}.  So far, in six years -- not one of my guests used the "dish towel"  [tea towels - my European guests] for anything other than to hand dry dishes...not that I could detect ...they remain unstained and undamaged. We have dozens of good dish towels / tea towels in stock and they do get laundered after use.

                    • Re: Sponges not okay?
                      thaxterlane Senior Contributor

                      Anja, I love your comment.


                      What is a dish "rag"?  Priceless.


                      The dish pan brings back memories of my childhood.  We didn't have a dishwasher and we learned to soap and scrub in the dish pan and then rinse the soap when all the glasses, dishes, pots, and utensils were cleaned.


                      With dishwashers being so common we are losing our manual skills.  My children have never learned to "properly" wash a dish - it simply goes in the dishwasher and presto, chango - it's clean! 

                    • Re: Sponges not okay?
                      sodamo Contributor

                      LOL, maybe regional or generational or BOTH :)

                      Growing up in Maine, my Mom always had dishrags, but in actuality were dish cloths as they were bought for that purpose, seems most were an off-white with red or green stripes. Called by either name, we all knew what was meant. All my relatives and neighbors were pretty much the same. I was likely a young adult before experiencing a kitchen sponge. Mom also had a dishpan, but it was not always used, guess I never figured out that rule.


                      We provide a new cello wrapped sponge w/scrubber back along with the micro cloths that match the dish towels and of course paper towels. Might have to think about the dishpan though as we have single sinks. The dish drainer sits on the counter when in use and has a tray to direct the water into the sink.



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                      • Re: Sponges not okay?

                        I'd like to offer an environmental health point of view about sponges~FDA has done studies that show that soggy sponges and dish rags with food debris tend to grow a type of bacteria called Listeria. You may recall the Listeria outbreak with cantelopes  from Colorado this past year which resulted in illness and even death. to victims. While I don't recall that Listeria from a used, wet sponge or dish rag has ever been known to have killed anybody, it is often difficult to identify the source of infection from Listeria.


                        That's why I have gotten rid of all kitchen sponges and heavy, cloth dish rags, not only in our primary residence which is in an arid climate (Reno, NV), but also in our VR which happens to be in a warm, humid climate (Cape Cod).  Kitchen sponges and dish rags in my experience simply stay damp too long to be safe.


                        Instead we use light-weight, resuseable Handi-Wipes (made by Chlorox, but there are other brands, too) for kitchen counter and floor clean-ups. They are inexpensive and light-weight enough that they dry quickly avoiding the potential for bacterial growth and contamination. Each party of renters gets two of this to use during their stay; we are discarded at the end rather than trying to sanitize and wash them.


                        Judith Saum,  REHS (Registered Environmental Health Specialist)