Household science

 I was only half paying attention to the radio the other morning as I heard the story about sterilizing kitchen sponges in the microwave, but it sounded like a pretty good idea.

The upshot of the report on the findings of a team of researchers at the University of Florida was that two minutes on high in the microwave would do a pretty effective job of killing nearly all bacteria, viruses, parasites and various other nasties that might be residing in a kitchen sponge. Evidently some other folks were similarly impressed, though either they were also only half-listening to the story, or the account omitted an important bit of information.

 As some household experimenters learned while they dealt with the aftermath of the sponge infernos that broke out in their microwaves, it’s essential that the sponge be wet. (It’s also important to let the sponge cool before reaching into the microwave and trying to remove it bare-handed).

That’s how we learn, I suppose. A few months back, for example, I learned that our new microwave is considerably more powerful than the one it replaced. In the process, I also discovered that microwave popcorn could actually be set aflame. I’m sure the blackened mass that remained after I tossed the flaming bag in the kitchen sink was quite germ-free, though.

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