The 5-Second Rule?

Oct 24, 2012 -- 4:53pm

We've all heard of the The 5-Second Rule: if food falls on the floor, pick it up within five seconds and you can eat it. Whatever germs are on the floor don't have time to adhere to the food that quickly. Or do they? A recent national survey by Kelton Research found that nearly 60% of Americans admit to eating food that has fallen on the floor. Would they continue doing that if they knew a typical home carpet has up to 4,000 times more bacteria particles -- even after vacuuming -- than toilet seats? Here's the total number of bacteria particles found on one-inch square samples of different household surfaces:

  • Toilet seat: 49
  • Kitchen counter: 1,686
  • Kitchen tile: 2,546
  • Bathroom floor: 18,025
  • Carpet: more than 200,000


So what can you do? When you drop food -- even if it's only on the kitchen counter -- throw it away. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces, especially the kitchen counter after preparing meat or poultry. Wash your hands before and after handling food. use paper towels that can be thrown away or regularly wash cloth towels and dishrags in hot water. if you use a sponge to clean the kitchen counters or wash dishes, soak it thoroughly in water and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Do this every day. You can also place it in the dishwasher

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