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It’s Very Possible Your Office Coffee Mug Has Fecal Matter on It

Businessmen talking in conference roomBusinessmen talking in conference room

Remember that kitchen sponge fiasco last month, where we learned that out kitchen sponges are probably never truly clean? As it turns out, there’s a new victim in that whole debacle: Your office coffee mug.

Brace yourself: According to NDTV, a new study published in The Journal of Dairy, Food, and Environmental Sanitation noted that 90% of office coffee mugs were coated with germs (90%!) and 20% of those mugs actually had fecal matter on them.

And it gets worse. Apparently, your chance of coming into contact with E. coli actually increases if your mug has been wiped down with the office dishcloth or sponge. In the study, the bacteria wasn’t present at all in cups before they were wiped down, but was on 20% of them afterward. Coliform bacteria was present on 20% of the cups before wiping, and 100% afterward.

In short, that office sponge or towel isn’t doing you any favors.

As you can imagine, researchers suggest avoiding the office coffee mug going forward. If you are using a reusable mug, take it home each night and put it through your home’s dishwasher. Offices can also combat the issue by using a dishwasher for mugs or investing in a small office cup washer.