165 million cups of tea are drunk every day in the UK, whilst the equivalent of 12 million bottles of wine are also drunk each week in England. But every time you have a drink, do you really know who – or more importantly – what you’re sharing that drink with?
You may be surprised to find out how much bacteria we come into contact with every time we have a drink.
When Drinking Out, Beware of Bacteria
After a week at work, many of us like to relax and unwind with friends and family at pubs and restaurants, whilst the average number of visitors to coffee shops continues to increase year-on-year.
Going out for a drink is a great way to unwind and relax, but you may be surprised by how many germs and bacteria you’re coming into contact with every time you have a drink out.
Whilst it’s great to keep your drinks cool, ice could be adding more than a nice refreshing chill to your glass.
A previous study found many restaurants, pubs and coffee shops are serving dirty ice, meaning the ice being served with our drinks often has higher levels of bacteria than water samples taken from the toilet bowls at the same location!
It’s not unusual to get a soft drink with a lemon wedge in it. Yet these wedges are full of germs and bacteria.
According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health, 70% of lemon wedges tested positive for dangerous levels of microbial growth. [source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/27/lemon-germs-wedges-restaurants_n_4659168.html]
It’s a scary thought the number of people who will have drunk out of the same glass as you when you have a drink at a restaurant, pub or coffee shop. But we all trust that such establishments clean the glasses to a high standard.
However, it has been suggested that the rim of glasses in such establishments is the sixth worse for germs.
Drinking at Home Brings Germs Too
The increased risk of germs on glasses and within drinks when drinking out and about may not come as a major surprise, but drinking at home also brings about its own risk of coming into contact with high levels of germs and bacteria.
For ease and convenience, many of us opt to purchase bottled water. Whilst it may appear that by drinking this water we’re being healthy, bottled water could be doing us more harm than we think.
It has been reported bottled water contains more bacteria than tap water, with as many of 70% of popular bottled water brands having high levels of bacteria. Drinking out of bottles and cans should be a no-no if you’re looking at keeping your contact with harmful bacteria at a minimum after all have you ever thought about the journey bottles/cans go on before getting to you, and what they come into contact with.
Fridge Water Dispensers
Drinking bottled water isn’t the only way that high levels of bacteria can get into our bodies when we have a drink, it’s also been suggested that fridge water dispensers can harbour a host of nasty and potentially dangerous bacteria.
Your kitchen taps are also an ideal location for bacteria due to the faucet remaining moist. But you can help limit the number of germs and bacteria living around your taps by regularly disinfecting them using an anti-bacterial wipe.
The water which comes out of our taps can contain traces of lead, bacteria, and nitrates which can be harmful. To reduce the traces of such contaminants in the water you’re drinking, use a water filter.
Your water filter will remove further contaminants, including up to 99% of chlorine. In addition to removing further contaminants, it’ll also add the vital minerals which may have been taken out during the cleaning process at the water treatment plant, whilst drinking clean, filtered water helps protect the body from diseases and leads to overall greater health.
Tea Towels – Friend or Foe?
Tea towels are a common sight in homes, but are they really a friend or are they a foe? It all depends on how you use it. But it’s worth noting your tea towels can be a hotbed for germs and bacteria, which can easily be passed on.
For example, if you wipe your hands on your tea towel after touching raw meat you’ll be spreading bacteria onto the tea towel. If you then dry your dishes with the same tea towel, you’ll be spreading the bacteria onto them.
Despite this, if you use your tea towels carefully they can remain a great help in the kitchen for years to come, although key to this is to wash them on a very hot wash (e.g. 90⁰C) as this will kill off any bacteria and germs which may be harbouring. [source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1336319/The-bacteria-timebomb-home-The-experts-rules-beating-household-bugs-trigger-heart-disease-allergies-strokes.html]
Washing Up vs. Dishwashers
When it comes to cleaning our dishes, there are those who swear by the dishwasher and those who only wash up by hand. But is one really better than the other, particularly when it comes to removing germs and bacteria? It would appear so.
According to previous research, washing up by hand may not be cleaning our dishes as well as we think – and this is due to a number of reasons, including:
- Washing up bowls and re-usable dishcloths are good breeding grounds for bugs. It’s estimated there are 10 million bacteria per square inch of the kitchen sponge, making it 200,000 times dirtier than the average toilet seat.
- Many of us use lukewarm water to wash up in, which isn’t warm enough to kill germs and bacteria. To kill the bacteria on your dishes, you should be washing in water 60⁰C or above.
- Many of us use our kitchen sinks for a multitude of tasks, including cleaning football boots, which increases the number of bacteria our sinks come into contact with.
Our dishwashers may not be that much cleaner though, especially as it was found that 60% of dishwashers have fungal spores around the rubber seal, half of which contain black yeast which can be particularly harmful.
If our dishwashers aren’t regularly cleaned, by being put through a monthly service wash with a dedicated cleaner, the amount of dirt and bacteria our dishes come into contact with when we think they’re being cleaned is frightening.
Although there’s no denying each time we have a drink we’re coming into contact with more bacteria and germs than we may think, by taking a few simple steps such as cleaning our dishwashers and tea-towels regularly or being mindful of ice in our drinks, we can reduce the risk of drinking with any unwanted guests.
Tags: Cleaning Tips