Death in the Sink

Justin Sullivan/Getty Image

The detergent isn't dangerous. It's all the germs in the sink.

There's nothing like doing those dirty dishes by hand. That way you make sure they are really clean, right?  Well, I hate to break it to you but, as the old song goes, "It Ain't necessarily So".

In fact, the sponge, the water and the dishes all have little critters crawling on them that, given certain other conditions, could be fatal.

Read on dear "wash 'em by hand" :

 

 

Fear and Loathing in the Sink

Food waste is loaded with bacteria and germs. Those little critters are in the sink and in that sponge by the millions.  We all tend to think that since we are using soap and water that we are killing them off with each brush of the sponge. That dirty germ infested, bacteria laden sponge. So, what's living there?

Ever heard of  Escherichia coli?  It's better known as E. coli and it knows it's way around your digestive system like the back of it's flagella .  In fact, recent studies seem to indicate that there are more of these nasty little beggars in your sink than in your toilet bowl. Does that mean that it might be safer to wash your dishes in the toilet? I'll pause a moment while you digest that (pun intended)

Keeping the E. Coli company in the dishwater is our old friend Salmonella. If you are not sure what Salmonella does to you, I refer you to the previous discussion of the toilet.  If this critter gets into your system, you and your toilet will be come fast friends for about a week.

There are all manner of foods that can carry Salmonella, but the biggest culprits are raw chicken, eggs and the like. If you've made fresh chicken lately, there just might be a souvenir or a million still in your sink.

So, What Do We Do?

I suggest paper plates, plastic utensils and disposable cups.  But, since that can get expensive, there is another solution. It's called a dishwasher. I mean the electric kind not the "get the kids to do the dishes" kind. Here's why a dishwasher is better than washing by hand:

The water inside a modern dishwasher keeps a pretty constant temperature of about 155 degrees. Add to that the high pressure of the rinse and you've pretty much got yourself a germ and bacteria killer. Sure a dishwasher can, initially,  be expensive but they are still cheaper than the average visit to your local ER!

If your spouse gives you a hard time about getting a dishwasher, let them read this article and see if they want to take over the hand washing of the dishes.  To help you in your efforts, I've included a look at the E. Coli bacterium.  Bon Appetit!

flickr/microbeworld

Hi, there! I'm on that spoon you're about to put in your mouth!