Experts Say Cleaning Underwear In A Hotel Kettle Is 'Super Super Super Super Gross' So Maybe Don't Do It K Thnx

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"Real question: does anyone I know clean their underwear in a kettle when travelling?"

Scrolling through social media this morning, these 14 words, in one foul (pun intended) swoop, ruined every relaxing cup of tea I've ever had in a hotel room.

My mind was racing. Who would do this? Why?

And is it really as gross as it sounds? I reached out to some experts on the matter to find out if the simple fact the underwear is literally boiling means this actually a safe thing to do, or nah.

Dr Heather Hendrickson is a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biosciences at the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at Massey University in Auckland.

She knows what she's talking about.

"It is super super super super gross," Dr Hendrickson says.

Here's the science of the matter, as explained by Dr Hendrickson.

Boiling kills most, but not all microorganisms.

For example, some bacteria form spores that are highly resistant to anything other than 120 celsius and high pressure for extended periods of time. The Clostidium botulinum spores ( which causes botulism) are a prime example of this sort of resistance to the environment, Dr Hendrickson says.

"These don't cause sickness if they are consumed, but their presence in certain environments can encourage them to produce a toxin that can be deadly."

Dr Hendrickson points out that bacterial pathogens in water that has been contaminated in this way will either be killed by boiling, or be brought to a low level that is unlikely to negatively affect health.

"However, who knows how long that water, with nutrients that have been introduced and then sterilised, sits around in the kettle before someone else uses it?" Dr Hendrickson says, calling the act "unbelievably irresponsible."

Why risk other people's health in any way by doing something like this?

"Your friend is unlikely to have a large number of highly heat resistant pathogens in his dirty undergarments but we do not know what he DOES have in there or how sick he might be," Dr Hendrickson horrifying points out.

"There are simply too many unknowns and hotel kettle's are not industrial strength cleaning facilities."

Look, it should be obvious, but introducing and then removing items from inside the kettle is not a sanitary behaviour, and Dr Hendrickson backs me up on this.

"Be respectful of other people and don't do this!" Dr Hendrickson pleads, and I along with her. "I am totally grossed out by your friend!"

Me too, Dr Hendrickson.

Me too.

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    Jesus. I've drunk ballsack/vajeroo sweat infused tea haven't I? I could have lived my entire life in ignorance that this is something that people actually do :-|

    That's nothing, you should see what I do to the TV remote ;)

      I hope you put a condom on it first but that might explain the sticking buttons on the remotes.

    Pack more underwear you disgusting people.

    That anyone would be disgusting and moronic enough to do this probably shouldn't surprise me, given the general levels of selfishness, ignorance and stupidity of much of the human race.

    Oh, and it's "one fell swoop", although you seem to have come up with an appropriate accidental play on words.

    Last edited 23/08/17 11:42 am

      (not accidental, and I'm glad someone picked up on it :P)

        Wow, really? Inappropriate comment? If that's your response you might want to add Functional Snowflake to your CV. If you can't take critical feedback you're in the wrong place. If you as a "journalist" or contributor or whatever it is you call it can't take mild, accurate, thoughtful feedback you are bound for a life of mediocre work product. Well, glad to see you have come so far on that journey.

          I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. What "inappropriate comment" exactly are you referring to?

            I'm referring to the moderation of 2 of my comments, (marked "inappropriate comment" )and am somewhat surprised that they have been resurrected. Whatever.

    "one foul swoop" No, no, no no no. Unless you are trying to make a tremendously clever pun, (and failing) it's "one fell swoop". See Shakespeare, see Macbeth, see your way clear to getting this one thing right.

      I thought the pun was pretty good myself, but each to their own :)

      I'm pretty amused this was the thing that bothered you the most about this article, though haha

        I believe it was meant to say "one foul soup".

        The article is standard internet fare, a "Headline about Something That Could Have Almost Nearly Happened" fleshed out with a "scientific" angle and the first comment is a predictable and thoroughly adequate response. The silkwood comment is not completely correct. You did make a pun, using homophonic language for an intended humorous effect. You could signal your intent by using [sic]. It would alert the reader to your cleverness. Your addition "(pun intended)" is a less elegant solution. But it's Gizmodo, not Language Log or somesuch, so I'll go now.

      I'm glad I wasn't the only one fixated on that. ;)
      I never read the rest of the article.. lol!

        Maybe you's kind of important!

          It's not important, and it doesn't exist and never will. That will make it go away wont it? I don't want to think I've had tea made from someones underwear

    Why would someone even consider doing this? I mean every hotel room I've been in had a sink in the bathroom. If you really, absolutely had to wash your grubby drawers why would you use that? Or even use the shower stall?

    The very idea of using a food prep device to wash clothes in... ugh.


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