ZocdocAnswersIf I used a contaminated sponge on something I eat off of, what is my risk?

Question

If I used a contaminated sponge on something I eat off of, what is my risk?

My husband cleaned a garbage can that had started to have a black substance forming around the inside with a sponge. I later cleaned the dishes I used to cook & serve dinner with that same sponge (not realizing it was the same one of course). What is the risk here and what side effects should I look for in myself and in my preschooler?

Answer

If you are at all concerned or feeling unwell, please be sure to call your physician or your child's pediatrician. To start, it may be a good idea to purchase a new garbage can if there is in fact a black substance forming on the inside. There can be several types of bacteria, and depending on your home, mold that like to grow particularly in dark, warm areas. Sink sponges alone have been known to harbor various bacteria. It is important to change the sponge you use to clean dishes frequently. In addition, using hot water while washing can help kill bacteria. It is not possible to predict which bacteria or mold would be present in the trash can. Common types of bacteria can include E. coli. Such bacteria can cause vomiting, and diarrhea most commonly. Everyone comes in contact with several types of bacteria each day. if you have not experienced any new symptoms by this point, it is unlikely that any illness or side effects will be caused by the contaminated sponge. The immune system has an amazing ability to fight potential infections! Black films growing in the can, or on walls or tubs, can often indicate mold present in the home. Mold can cause allergies for people predisposed. You may consider having your home evaluated for the presence of molds. And again, please speak with your physician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.