A little bacteria won't stop Dr. Aaron Carroll. He says he'll gladly eat food that's fallen on the floor. Take that bashers of the five-second rule!
“Even though I know bacteria can accumulate in less than five seconds, I will still eat food that has fallen on my kitchen floor. Why? Because my kitchen floor isn't really that dirty,” Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, wrote in the New York Times.
In fact, there are surfaces in the home that are loaded with much more bacteria than a kitchen floor, Carroll points out.
The squeamish should take note that research has shown that on average the kitchen floor harbors 2.75 colonies per square inch of coliform bacteria. That is much less than the 5.37 colonies per square of bacteria found on a refrigerator handle and even less than the 5.75 colonies per square inch found on the kitchen counter. Above all else, a sponge, which can harbor more than 20 million colonies of bacteria per square, has the most germs.
What's less germ-laden than those? The toilet seat in the bathroom is much cleaner on average than most kitchen surfaces with 0.68 colonies of bacteria per square inch. “We worry about the floor and the toilet seat, so we clean them more. We don't think about the refrigerator handle or the faucet handle as much,” Carroll writes.
But Carroll cautions to not react to this information by being “paranoid about everything” and clean constantly. Instead, people should understand their immune systems can withstand the germs they are inevitably exposed to every day. “We've all been touching this dirty stuff for a long time, without knowing it, and doing just fine,” he writes.