Life Hacks

5 of the dirtiest items commonly found in restaurants

November 18th, 2020

If you are like most people, you probably love dining out. Apart from not having to cook and clean your kitchen, eating at a restaurant also allows you to enjoy and socialize with other people.

But here’s the thing:

Is dining at a restaurant really better than eating at home?

Researchers from the University of Arizona went on a mission with ABC to find the dirtiest things in a restaurant. The results were nothing short of shocking.

Here’s what they found out:


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Most of the time, menus are the first things people handle once they get into a restaurant. Even people who’re still thinking about where to eat check restaurant menus to see if there’s anything they like there.

Considering that, it’s not surprising why menus topped the study’s list. Around 185,000 bacterial organisms were found on their surfaces.

And the worst thing about them?

Menus are rarely thoroughly cleaned, particularly if they are paper.

Salt and pepper shakers

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Over the course of the day, shakers can get quite dirty and germy. If you ever notice them feeling sticky, avoid touching them as much. Pepper shakers have been found to have about 11,600 bacterial organisms. The same is true about ketchup and mustard bottles.

Lemon wedges

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The study didn’t say much about lemons. However, considering that they’ve been sitting all day in open trays, there’s a good chance that they’ve accumulated tons of bacteria before they’re able to make it into your mojito. Plus, they are rarely washed first.

So, the next time you want to squeeze a lemon into your drink, don’t toss it into your glass afterward.


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The result of a separate study is more shocking than the first one. The investigation found out that 70% of the ice in ice machines in fast-food restaurants have more bacteria than the water in the toilet.

A reason for this is the difficulty of cleaning the machines. Restaurant staff may skip cleaning them because of that.


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Pexels Source: Pexels

BBC took samples from a couple of restaurants and found out that highchairs were dirtier than the tables.

Dr. Andrew Morris, an expert from Keel University, revealed that some of the 9 chairs from which samples were taken had more than 12 times the number of bacteria than they expected. Although that level won’t be enough to cause health problems in children, it’s still not a good thing. A lot of parents expressed concern about their kids’ health and safety.

How to Protect Yourself

You need to touch the menu in order to see what the restaurant is serving. However, to protect yourself, remember to wash your hands after. Regular handwashing is considered one of the best ways to remove potentially harmful bacteria from your hands.

For parents, consider wiping down highchairs before putting your kids in it. This may mean extra work on your part but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You really can’t see bacteria with your own eyes.

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Source: Home Making, Reader’s Digest