The Dirty Truth About Office Coffee Mugs Is Revealed & It's a Shocker

Horrifying 11

mugHey, you know that mug you use at the office? The one you use for your coffee or tea, that you maybe wash out at the sink every night? The one you protect because you don't want anyone to use it and contaminate it with their other-person germs? Well, I have bad news for you: Your coffee mug is crawling with filth.

Professor Charles P. Gerba says that "twenty percent of office mugs carry fecal bacteria." EW! "And 90 percent are covered in other bacteria." UGH! "In an office, most people tend to clean their cups with bacteria-laden sponges or scrub brushes instead of a dishwasher. That bacteria transfers to the mug and can live there for three days." OMG!!!

Did you know this?!?

Okay, so I've kind of suspected this all along. We don't have a dishwasher here in the office. (I'm not complaining! I'm not!) But we do have a sink with dish washing liquid, hand soap, and oh yeah, one of those sponges Dr. Gerba warned us about. Did I mention the kitchen sink does not get hot water? (Still not complaining! Just pointing that out.) I think our set-up is probably a lot like many other offices around the country.

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I've used the office sponge a couple of times. But it scares me. I think it may be alive. It haunts my dreams.

So I've devised a mug-washing hack. I fill my mug part-way with hot water from the water cooler (it's what we use for tea). Then I squirt in some dish washing liquid, and then just enough tap water so I don't scald my hand. Yeah, my hand. I literally wash my mug with my bare hand, because a paper towel would just fall apart and I want to feel with my fingers that lipstick and dead skin really are coming off the inside and outside of the mug.

All good, right? NO, of course not. Because Dr. Gerba also recommends you not nurse your coffee for more than an hour or so -- because you're just breeding bacterial colonies in your mug. And that is kind of bad news for me because nursing a mug of tea for longer than an hour is exactly what I do, almost every single day. How am I supposed to find the time to get up and wash out my mug and carefully assemble yet another perfect mug of loose-leaf tea after an hour when I'm WORKING HERE?!? I guess that's why my office also supplies cans of soda.

Do you have a dishwasher at work? How do you clean your office mug?

 

 

drinks, food safety, in the news

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Lynette Lynette

I am a SAHM so not an issue for me.  But you could sanitize the sponge in the microwave before using it to clean anything.  Still it would be gross to me, I don't use sponges in my house, I prefer dishcloths.

nonmember avatar Katie

I take my cup everyday. A new one comes back to the office with me the next day. I hate washing my mug in the sink and refuse to leave it there. I feel that is the only way to make sure its clean.

nonmember avatar Mojito

This does sound gross, but your own mugs at home are also covered in bacteria. That's just a fact of life. Studies have shown that many people's bathrooms are cleaner than their kitchens because bathrooms seem ickier so we clean them more carefully. Just to put this study into perspective.

Julie Winkler

this is why I 1. use bleach and dish soap on the office dish sponge. 2. insist that the sponge sits in a dry place and dry completely over night after being throughly rinsed. 3. microwave it/change it frequently. I CAN NOT STAND when my co-workers leave a soggy sponge on the sink edge because I know it makes it germier.

caral... caralicious

i work in a restaurant i run mine through the dishwasher problem solved

bella... bellacazzate

Hey, Adriana, your hands are covered in shit (a.k.a. "fecal matter") ALL THE TIME. Never mind a mug! And nothing can ever stop it! Bwah hahahaha. 


Seriously, though. Unless you never touch anything and bathe yourself in bleach. The thing that grosses me out the most is leaving your toothbrush in the bathroom at all times. Everyyyyy timeeee you flushhhhhh... fecal matter spreaaaaadssssss. Sing it with me!

tbruc... tbrucemom

Sponges literally gross me out no matter if they're at home or work. I don't use them at work and at home I use a dishcloth that I put in the laundry at the end of the day.

nonmember avatar Benedikt

I am glad you have no other problems...

corri... corrinacs

My company has some person to come in to wash all the dishes actually LOL.  I know, it sounds so lame.  But they have company-dishes that you use if you need to.  You put them in the sink (or load them in the dishwasher) and they run that when its full :).  You get a nice santized cup each time!

corri... corrinacs

My company has some person to come in to wash all the dishes actually LOL.  I know, it sounds so lame.  But they have company-dishes that you use if you need to.  You put them in the sink (or load them in the dishwasher) and they run that when its full :).  You get a nice santized cup each time!

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