The kitchen is a scary place for germs, especially with all the uncooked meats you handle in the area.
|Don't hug him. He may be SICK.|
Your sponge, with its dampness and little holes, is a perfect environment for germs to hang out. A good habit is to wring out all excess water to try to keep the sponge as dry as possible. Another good tactic is to run your sponge in the dishwasher whenever possible.
But for the most effective cleaning, throw a wet cellulose (not natural) sponge into the microwave on high for 1 to 3 minutes depending on the power. The boiling water in the sponge will sanitize it while drying it out. A completely DRY sponge in the microwave may catch on fire! So play around with the time & settings to figure out what works for you.
Have more than one sponge so that you rotate usage, giving them a chance to dry.
Color code your sponges to avoid cross-contamination. Examples: red for cleaning up raw meat/eggs, blue for cleaning pots and pans, and yellow for cleaning the counter tops.
When working with raw chicken, it recommended you use disposable paper towels to minimize salmonella contamination.