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Germaphobes, Look Away

Written By Scott Joseph On November 7, 2016

Coffee Mug

Here’s welcome news for the slacker in all of us, or horrifying information for the squeamish.

As first reported in the Wall Street Journal but also in a not-behind-a-paywall article at New York Magazine’s Science of Us website, it’s fine if you never wash your coffee mug. In fact, suggests an infectious disease expert, it may actually be better if you don’t wash it at all.

As the article says, there are a couple of caveats. This applies only to single-user coffee cups, not shared. And if you add sugar or cream to your morning brew, that stuff can fester, so you’ll need to wash your mug.

But as has been drummed into our heads for many years, using the sponge you keep at your kitchen sink probably adds more germs to the coffee cup — or whatever you’re washing — than not washing it at all. Go ahead and smell your kitchen sponge; I’ll wait. Pretty stinky, right?

If the thought of not washing your coffee cup scares you, go ahead and give it a scrub. First, though, put the sponge in the microwave. Rinse out as much of the soap as you can and put the wet sponge in and nuke it for 2 minutes. Careful when you take it out because that sucker will be hot.

Oh, then wash your hands because when you wrung the sponge out you transferred all those stinky bacteria to your hands.

It’s the circle of life. Something to contemplate over a cup of coffee. Black. No sugar.

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