Your Coffee Cup is Full of Crap

Office Coffee Cups. Do you have your own coffee or tea cup that you use in the office rather than using a mug or cup that other people use? If so, does it stay on your desk all day, or do you wash it well after each use?

I’ve just read something which turned my stomach… According to a Charles Gerba, professor of environmental microbiology of the University of Arizona, not only is there bacteria in 90% of office cups, there could be crap in our coffee mugs… yes, CRAP!

His research suggests that coffee cups are breeding ground for “colonies of germs”. 90 percent of office cups / mugs contain bacteria, and even more disgusting, that 20 percent of office mugs contain fecal matter!

Dr Gerba is the same scientist who advised us to keep our toothbrushes away in a cabinet, after his tests showed just how far bacteria & viruses fly from the toilet bowl each time the toilet is flushed.

The main issue when it comes to bacteria in cups is that many people leave their mugs on their desk for long periods without washing them, while the germs breed. If these mugs are washed, it’s often with just water and without soap, and even if there is soap used it’s not particularly hot water, and basically many of us are doing a half arsed job of washing bacteria from our coffee cups.

The other issue is that kitchen sponges and cloths contain large amounts of bacteria, so if we wipe our cups out with a cloth or sponge from the office kitchen sink, we may be adding more bacteria than we’re removing.

His advice is that if there isn’t a dishwasher in the office kitchen, we should take our cups home with us every night and put them in the dishwasher for a proper clean.


First thing tomorrow – I am binning my coffee cup! I use a travel cup in the office, a stainless sheel one, I’ve used the same one for longer than want to admit even to myself, and I don’t think I’ve ever brought it home and put it in the dishwasher, or “the wishdosher” as I like to call it. I wash it sometimes at work, but thinking about it now, I do a half arsed job of it, and I don’t think I even do it every day, gross!

I’m going to get a new travel cup tomorrow to use at work, and I’m going to bring it home every day to put it in the wishdosher. I don’t think I’m alone in absolutely detesting being ill, whether it’s a common cold or a sickness bug, it’s just a nightmare, and if I can help prevent getting sick by bringing my cup home, that’s a small price to pay.

Goat Story MugI’ve recently taken delivery of the Goat Story mug, which I really like. It’s a really good quality travel cup, as long as the coffee isn’t steaming hot, you can close the lid and tip it upside down, doesn’t spill, which is handy. It’s not a mug that I think is particularly practical for me personally to use in the office though to be fair, just because every time I want to stand it up I would need to take the holder off, put it down and stand the cup in it, which is a bit of a faff. This mug is a but like high heels or tight pants, it’s more about style than it is about practicality, but still I do like it, and in some ways it is very practical, as you can sling it over your back, or chuck it on it’s side rather than having to stand it up and it won’t leak.

keepcupI like the keepcups too, and in particular the glass ones. They’re made of fully tempered soda-lime glass, so it’s not glass that you’re going to easily break, and glass is good for cleaning, especially in the wishdosher. I use the metal ones usually as I like how long they keep my cup warm for, I’m not a fan of drinking hot drinks from plastic, so the plastic keepcups aren’t the right choice for me, but the glass ones I think are a good option.

Ceramic or china cups or mugs are fine though, I just like travel cups because I tend to be in various places at work throughout the say so it makes sense to take my cup with me, and if I keep it in a ceramic cup it tends to go cold before I finish it, which is a pain. I don’t have coffee breaks at work, I just drink coffee while I work, and sometimes I actually get focused on what I’m doing, and forget to drink my coffee ;-).

Another idea is to speak to the boss about fitting a dishwasher into the office kitchen. Just forward him or her this post, and they’ll soon buy into the idea when they realise that they may be drinking coffee from mugs which also contain bacteria and even shite. A dishwasher (or a wishdosher) is only a couple of hundred quid, so it’s not a big expense for most businesses.

Life is like a box of chocolate, so follow me on twitter and that’s all I have to say about that.



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