I keep a small squeeze-type bottle full of bleach on the back of my sink. In the morning I put several inches of water in the sink, with a squirt of dish soap and a teaspoon of bleach. Throughout the day, any dirty dishes go in the water to soak or to be washed right away. The sponge sits in the water and is disinfected by the bleach, I use it whenever I need to wipe the stove, counter, microwave, etc.
I use an empty contact lens solution bottle, but any squeeze-type bottle would do. If I end up with a bunch of dishes that need to be hand washed, I will fill the sink with water, use the normal amount of dish soap and add 1 Tablespoon of bleach. The bleach helps to kill germs and bacteria on the dishes as they sit and keeps the sponge germ-free (I hope!). My mom started doing this many years ago when she developed an auto-immune disease. I started doing it when I had children who couldn't remember to wash their hands, bringing germs home from school to share with us. It seems like we are all less prone to be sick and pass it around among us when we remember to do this.
Caution: Dish soap and bleach will cause toxic fumes when mixed together by themselves. DO NOT put them together in the sink before you add water! Put water in the sink, add the soap and then add the bleach. DO NOT overdo the bleach, or it will still cause fumes - just remember that a very small amount will do, as I said, no more than a tablespoon for a full sink of water and barely a teaspoon for a half sink of water.
By lyonpridej from Tulsa, OK
I hate to disagree. I prefer not to leave standing water in my sink, even with dish soap and bleach. It gets cold too quickly, even in a stainless steel sink. My method is to rinse dishes as the day progresses. Really sticky stuff gets standing water. When dinnertime rolls around I run a half-sink of soapy water as hot as (or hotter than) I can stand, and add a tiny bit of bleach. By the time I get halfway through either my hands get accustomed, or the water cools to a bearable point, or both.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make anyone think I wash the dishes in the same water they soak in during the day. At the end of the day, I drain & rinse the sink, then add fresh, hot, soapy water to wash what doesn't get loaded in the dishwasher.
The water might get cold, but it's still somewhat sanitary, & a lot better than letting dirty dishes & a sponge sit in the sink all day gathering germs & attracting bugs-and believe me, if you rinse them & let them sit,dry,in the sink, they will grow bacteria & viruses while they sit there!
It was never possible for me to keep up with the dishes when everyone was home, I didn't want them to just sit in the sink. The bleach killed the germs while the dishes soaked. When I had 4 kids at home, someone was constantly bringing something home from school & making the rest of us sick, sometimes we'd be sick all winter because we just kept passing it around! One of them had cancer as a toddler & spent 2 1/2 years on chemo, at times he had zero immune system & it became a life & death matter. He once got salmonella food poisoning & not only had to be hospitalized on IV, but developed a stomach ulcer from it that had to be treated for 2 months. Next to hand washing & sanitizing doorknobs & stuff, putting bleach in my dishwater has been one of the most effective things I've ever done to keep us from passing stomach viruses & other illnesses around.
And I can tell you that after my son's 7th grade science fair project, I will continue to do that! He swabbed & cultured sponges that had been used to wash eating utensils that had been rinsed & sat in the sink for a day, the sponges were rinsed before being cultured, let me tell you that is was really disgusting what grew in those cultures & it has made me even more paranoid about germs & bacteria in my kitchen!
I use this method all the time When preparing meals. Especially when you are dealing with raw meat. You dont have to keep running water to wash your hands. You have the soapy bleach water there to disinfect your dish rags and your hands and do your wipe downs at the same time.
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