The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sponge in microwave backfires

Washington, Jan. 25 (Reuters): Reports about a study that found microwave ovens can be used to sterilise kitchen sponges sent people hurrying to test the idea this week — with sometimes disastrous results.

A team at the University of Florida found that two minutes in the microwave at full power could kill a range of bacteria, viruses and parasites on kitchen sponges.

They described how they soaked the sponges in wastewater and then zapped them. But several experimenters evidently left out the crucial step of wetting the sponge.

“Just wanted you to know that your article on microwaving sponges and scrubbers aroused my interest. However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off,” one correspondent wrote.

The university issued the following advisory: “To guard against the risk of fire, people who wish to sterilise their sponges at home must ensure the sponge is completely wet.”

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