My dirty floors and the five second rule

My dirty floors and the five second rule


My house is a filthy mess. It has nothing to do with my housekeeping skills, (which I’ve never put on the list of things that help make me a whole person) I’ve been sweeping up at least twice a day and even the husband has been going around with the broom!

Dirty floors and the five second rule

The culprits are none other the dogs and my new landscaping out front. The grading was changed and there is topsoil seeded with grass that is trying to grow….Jill loves sitting in the soil, she loves burying her bones in it, she & Samson both like digging and of course rough housing. And try as I might they don’t clean themselves off before they come in the house. Did I tell you Jill can open the door herself, both to go out and come in; so she comes and goes as she pleases.

Enough for now, I have to go clean the floors…again!

It’s happened to all of us: you’re sitting at your desk, happily working away and munching on a mid-afternoon energy-building snack. Suddenly, you lose your grip on your Ritz cracker smeared with almond butter, your corn chip, your seedless grape, and it falls to the floor in a desperate bid to escape your hungry mouth. You briefly hesitate, until a voice in your head shouts “Five Second Rule!”  So you snatch the fugitive morsel up quickly, wipe off the dust, and pop it into your mouth — day saved.

Or is it? C. Claiborne Ray of the New York Times’ Science Q&A column cites a 2007 study from the Journal of Applied Microbiology which exposes the Five Second Rule as a health-compromising misconception. Researchers took turns dropping slices of bologna and bread onto different types of surfaces contaminated with salmonella, then tested to see how much bacteria had transferred to the food. Their results were shocking (and gross): From tile, wood, and carpet, more than 99% of the salmonella present transferred to the food almost immediately, with no difference between the exposure times of five, 30 and 60 seconds.

(Digression: I recall a couple years ago that Adam and Jamie debunked this particular belief in their own unique style on Mythbusters. (watch this video ) It’s great to see their methodologies confirmed! Isn’t Science grand?

The fascinating full study can be found here. (You may not want to read it while eating lunch!) The short version: next time you lose a snack to gravity, grant it its freedom and put it in the trash — participating in this particular science experiment may not be worth the stomachache.