It may be convenient to keep your favourite coffee mug in the office kitchen, but cleaning it there actually does more harm than good. Here’s why you should bring that mug home and give it a thorough cleaning as often as you can.
Photo by faungg’s photos.
According to Charles Gerba, Ph.D., professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, around 90% of most office mugs harbour dangerous germs, and 20% of those carry faecal bacteria. And Gerba suggests office cleaning methods are to blame. People tend to clean out coffee mugs with community sponges and scrub brushes that are laden with bacteria. So the process of cleaning them in the office kitchen or break room is actually making things worse. It doesn’t help that the coffee pot in the break room is already a germ hot spot.
If you really want to keep your favourite coffee mug from becoming a bacteria delivery service, Gerba recommends you take your mug home with you and wash it in the dishwasher as often as you can. The hot temperatures of the wash and heated dry cycle are enough to keep your mug bacteria-free. If you can’t take it home, at least wash it with hot water, soap, and dry with a paper towel daily.