How often should I replace my bath sponge?

Sponges and Mold

Mold, a kind of fungus, thrives in wet, warm areas like bathrooms. If you don't regularly dry and disinfect your bath sponge, it could become a haven for mold and possibly help spread the fungus throughout your home.

Fungus reproduces with tiny particles called spores. These spores can be dangerous when people breathe them in. Mold spores trapped in your lungs can cause serious allergic reactions, and many people may have mild reactions to skin contact with the spores, such as redness and itching [source: Bode].

Once mold begins to grow in an area, it can spread easily to other locations [source: Consumer Reports]. Part of the natural outdoor environment, mold spores travel through the air and can begin growing indoors when they land in a moist area that will support them [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]. To ensure that this location isn't the sponge with which you clean yourself, you need to follow some basic hygiene rules.

The same measures that prevent bacterial growth also will prevent mold from forming on your bath pouf, loofah or sponge. Rinse the sponge after each use, hang it to dry and disinfect it with bleach or another method on a regular basis. If you can see mold on your bath sponge, it may be best to get rid of it right away and buy a new one. Most sponges are inexpensive, and the few dollars that you'll spend are worth preventing the illness you might contract by using a contaminated item on your body.

To prevent mold and bacteria from growing, the best course of action is to clean your bath sponge regularly. Read the next page to learn how best to clean your sponge or loofah.