We all know the 5-second rule. It is a way to justify not wasting food that falls onto the floor; supposedly, if you pick it up within 5 seconds of it touching the ground, there isn't enough time for bacteria to latch onto the food. An interesting follow up question is do different types of flooring affect this "rule"?
In accordance with a study performed by researchers at the University of Aston in the U.K., carpet has the lowest bacteria transfer ability of all types of flooring (well, between tile, laminate, and carpet).
This study specifically focused on specific bacteria groups, namely Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. A piece of food would be dropped onto one of the three flooring types and would be left there anywhere from 3-30 seconds. The food types included pasts, biscuits, pieces of toast, and sticky candies.
The surprising thing about the study was that time was a significant factor in bacteria collection on the food. What this means for us is that the 5-second rule might actually be quite valid. Additional findings showed that carpeting transfers bacteria to the food much slower than other flooring types, especially when the food is left for 5 seconds or longer.
Now, are we saying that it is totally safe to eat food you've dropped onto the floor, even if it is picked up within 5 seconds of hitting the floor? NO! Of course not. There can be hundreds of types of bacteria on your floors and other floors outside your home. Additionally, floors can carry allergens such as microfibers, dust and pollen, and pet hair dander. Even if you don't have a pet, all sorts of particles can be brought into your home by your shoes. And although studies show that the 5-second rule can potentially help reduce the bacteria that winds up on your food, it also depends on what kinds of bacteria are hanging around the floor your food drops on.
Here at Clean Earth Restorations, we kindly want to suggest avoiding eating food off the floors, even if it was within the 5-second rule. However, we also know that anything can happen behind closed doors, so we recommend protecting your carpets and floors as much as possible for when the inevitable happens. One of the best ways to protect your carpets and help keep them clean is though regular cleanings. Our carpet cleaning teams at Clean Earth Restorations are some of the best, and we pride ourselves on staying up to date with the latest eco-friendly cleaning methods and carpeting knowledge. So in the near future if you end up dropping some food on your carpets and need a second opinion on continuing to eat it, or if you'd like to schedule a carpet cleaning, give us a call at 619-284-4239, or contact us at cleanearthrestorations.com.