Unless You Use a Dishwasher, You'll Probably Be Having Bacteria for Dinner... Again

Illustration for article titled Unless You Use a Dishwasher, Youll Probably Be Having Bacteria for Dinner... emAgain/em

Perhaps you think all it takes to get your dishes clean is a little good old fashioned elbow grease, a sponge, and some dish soap. Perhaps you should think again.


Let's say you come home Friday evening to a sink full of the week's dirty dishes, a bag of groceries in one arm, an empty stomach within. You have no clean plates, and you need one!

Sure, there's nothing wrong with wanting to do it yourself—it's better than nothing?!—but, c'mon. Dishwashers weren't invented just to use up disproportionate amounts of the world's water supply. As it turns out, they are very, very good at their job: dish washing!


Not just better, significantly better, explains Alexandra Jaffe, writing for the Atlantic.

What reliably sanitizes dishes is high heat, at temperatures greater than most people can stand. Past 145 degrees Fahrenheit, water easily and quickly kills bacteria. . .But most people can't handle water temperatures over 104 degrees, meaning those of us stuck with the pauper's slog of scrubbing our own dishes have a higher likelihood of leaving some bacteria on our plates.

The problem with hand washing, other than the near impossibility that your hands could actually withstand temperatures conducive to sanitizing, is that your sponge is filthy and you're using it, nitwit that you are, trying to remove filth from a filthy plate. "The definition of futility," says Jaffe, aptly.

What to do? To summarize the rest of the article, there are a few measure you can take make the whole exercise at least a moderately more valid use of your time.


• Sterilize your sponge by popping it in the microwave for 30 seconds
• Purchase a pair of dishwashing gloves, to protect your hands against the hot hot water you are about to start using
• Accept that you will probably never, ever, not ever get your dishes dishwasher-clean. (But know that this is okay, because, as Jaffe puts it, "I've been eating from germ-riddled dishes for over two decades now, and I'm not dead yet. So, eating from them for decades more probably won't kill me—or you.")

Or just get yerself a dishwasher?! Love your dishwasher, love yourself. [TheAtlantic - Image via Joe Belanger/Shutterstock]


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Fact: There are 10x more bacteria cells in the human body than there are cells that make up the human body. (10^14 for bacteria vs 10^13 for human cells) source [en.wikipedia.org]

Fact: Just because it's bacteria doesn't mean it's bad for you.

Fact: Bacteria existed on this planet for billions of years before any other life forms appeared, and will still be around when we are long gone.

Fact: Bacteria exists happily without humans. Humans wouldn't live for a day without bacteria.

Bacteria is what digests our food. It's what keeps us safe from diseases.

There is now speculation that our overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial cleaning products is leading to an increase in autoimmune disease and obesity. source [www.scientificamerican.com]

Too many people associate bacteria with bad.

Yes, some bacterias are bad. They will not only make you sick, but they will kill you.

But some of those bacteria that can kill you serve a very important function in our bodies. It's only when they get moved to another place where they cause issue. Eg. Streptococcus pneumoniae. It lives in the respiratory system and the nasal passages. It lives in our bodies, not causing any harm, until something happens, like an injury or infection which causes it to move out of it's natural habitat. When it does that, it causes Bacterial Meningitis. source [my.clevelandclinic.org]

My point in this post is, humans have evolved to live with, and take advantage of a lot of the bacteria we encounter. the ones that hurt us are the ones we don't run into very often.

If you have been healthy and hand washing your dishes up till now, nothing will change if you keep hand washing them. Your immune system can take care of 99.9% of the bad bacteria you encounter.