Restaurant Ice Is Dirtier Than Toilet Water & We Are Officially Grossed Out

Ewww! 21

ice cubesDo you do grosser-than-gross jokes? Okay. What's grosser than the toilet water at a restaurant? The ice in your glass. Yuck! Samples of ice were taken from ten chain restaurants and compared to the water in those restaurants' toilet bowls. The results: In six out of ten restaurants, the ice had more bacteria than toilet water at those same restaurants. And now you can't un-read what I just told you. Sorry about that.

So yeah... that's gross. Does it make you feel any better if I tell you the study took place in the UK? It shoudln't, because the blog Grub Street gathered a handful of other studies that show the same exact thing: Restaurant ice is dirty, dirty, dirty.

How bad is this bacterial contamination? At two restaurants there was twice as much bacteria in the ice than scientists say you'd see in drinking water. Four samples were high enough in bacteria to be considered a "hygiene risk." Scientists think the ice is this gross probably because toilets get cleaned more often than ice machines do. Ice could be contaminated by employees who don't wash their hands or equipment.

Naturally, all the restaurants in question are all, Burr hurr hurr, our ice is perfectly safe and we take hygiene very seriously -- please don't run away dear customers.

I'm just glad I usually refuse ice in my drinks. It's not because I think the ice is dirty -- it's just because I don't like super cold drinks, and I think it's annoying to have ice cubes floating into your mouth when you're drinking. What are you supposed to do? Spit them out? That's so uncouth. But I don't want to chew them, either. And straws are for children. Know what I mean? Ugh, ice in my drinks. Hate that.

Plus, I never go to any of those restaurants... EXCEPT Starbucks. My one exception to the ice rule would probably be iced coffee and tea. And oh gee gosh golly, summer is here, which means it's iced coffee season. Now this dirty ice expose has ruined iced coffee for me. Who can I trust? For that matter, how clean is the ice in my own freezer?

Do you ever wonder how clean the ice in your drinks is?


Image via A Girl With Tea/Flickr


chain restaurants, drinks, eating out, food safety


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LostS... LostSoul88

I will wonder now... EWWWW

LadyM... LadyMinni

Most of these places import ice from elsewhere. We have our own industrial icemakers. We put the water through a filter that has like 7 stages and then it gets boiled to make it clear.

Ask the restaurant employees where the ice comes from. If the answer is "um" or "I don't know," then don't get it.

Also, never get lemon at restaurants. Rarely are they ever well cleaned. I don't know what it is about lemons but fast food restaurants never want to clean them. Non-fast food restaurants can be like that too though, so always be cautious. Ask when your lemon was washed. If the answer is more than 10 minutes ago, don't accept it.

eupeptic eupeptic

It'd be interesting if a test was also done on water bowls for pets. Maybe dogs who drink out of the toilet are smarter than we think they are...

nonmember avatar Ally

I actually do call backs on audits for major restaurants and coffee chain and it's insanely detailed and rigorous. They are actually a lot cleaner and maintained than people think and they get re-audited at least every few months. Some of the managers jobs depend on the outcome of the audits so I wouldn't be so leery of every place serving ice.

nonmember avatar CrystalMP

I've known this since I worked ay mcdonalds when I was 15. I was dipping ice out of the machine when my hand slipped I accidently punched the inside of the machine and mold fell off of it. My rule is if it's not bottled and not from your own home don't drink it!

kelly... kelly24019

Not surprised... If you eat out you with block facts like this out or are completely oblivious or have never worked in a restaurant ever.. The ice is the tip of the iceberg...

Stephanie Sekellick Kelsey

Just for kids? Actually, my dentist recommended using straws if you drink anything acidic, to prevent enamel damage. I use them all the time for everything from OJ to iced coffee.

Lacey Tierney

OMG NO! Not bacteria! You man the same bacteria our bodies need to learn how to protect us? NOOOOOOOO!

briti... britishmummy

Why did they compare ice to toilet water? I can't wrap my head around it. People seem so anti-bacteria lately, I let my son have a binky he dropped the floor and we do the 5 second rule, we encourage our body to build immune systems. Honestly, in today's world, ice is the least of our worries.

nonmember avatar Kristin

I went to the original article, and to me, fast food places don't qualify as "restaurants." I dunno, I never get ice anyway. Braces make your teeth sensitive to cold things, and I never recovered my liking to ice.

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