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Five second rule.

I confess that I have used this rule in my own kitchen.Only for myself.Have you ?

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  1. I have a rule, but it is not "5 second". It has nothing to do with time. I will eat it if it falls on a relatively clean surface like counter top, but I don't eat it if it falls on the kitchen floor. My kitchen floor is really not clean. I will also more likely to eat it, if the food just fall straight and stay there. I will less likely to eat it, if it fall and roll around or smear around. Finally, I will more like to eat it if the food is dry (say a cookie), and less likely to eat it if it is wet (say soup noodle) because wet foods tend to pick up much more dirt.

    4 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Exactly. The idea that people should (or do) take "5 seconds" literally is ludicrous (although not any more ludicrous than other rules...).

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          To me it's a joke. You drop something, pick it up, and laugh and say '5 second rule'. It's not a real rule, rather a way to laugh at yourself for being a klutz in the first place and laugh off that you're willing to eat it anyway.

          Whether I'll eat something I drop isn't based on some non-rule, but based on what it is, whether it can be washed, will it be cooked, to whom I'm feeding it, etc. And most importantly, is it the last piece of chocolate.

      2. It was thoroughly debunked on both Mythbusters and Food Detectives.

        2 Replies
        1. re: acgold7

          I thought the 5 second rule was part of a comedy bit and had no real life connection.

          1. re: acgold7

            I have read a scientific debunking of the 5 second myth as well. If you grab something off the floor and eat it, then you must be aware that you are getting some uninvited bacteria and/or viruses. Or the dirt off of shoes.

            I am more likely to pop a dropped vitamin or med into my mouth after dropping than a piece of food. And if I am cooking for others, I throw the dropped thing away.

          2. I have NO problem eating stuff that falls on my (relatively clean) kitchen floor. I wouldn't serve it to company, but my family - definitely.

            1. My thing is, if I can rinse it, I'll use it. But not straight off the floor! If I can't rinse, trash

              1. I don't know... We have two cats who trot litter box germs all over the floor. Ever since I realized that they basically stand in their toilet, I've been less inclined to blow off the dirt and eat.

                1. My five second rule is quite looonnng, even minutes perhaps. Also it depends on the food texture. I figure it's good for the immune system.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    "My five second rule is quite looonnng, even minutes perhaps. Also it depends on the food texture. I figure it's good for the immune system."

                    Same here. I once ate candy a friend of mine found in the dirt. He passed it off as being from a box in his pocket. After eating it and seeing him literally in tears laughing did I realize something was wrong. No, we were not in kindergarten; this was in high school.

                    So, dropped on the kitchen floor? Fine with me. Wouldn't do it if I were serving guests though.

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      Yea, I save the food which has traversed the barrier of level of the counter for myself but I have a pretty high threshold for food which will not be picked up and used.

                  2. If the housekeeper has been here within the last several days, maybe ten seconds. If she's coming tomorrow, in the trash!

                    As for applying to myself vs. others, that depends on what it is. If it's something like a tortilla chip I'll just dust it off and eat it myself or put it into the bowl. A piece of fruit or vegetable, me only. Something that needs wiping up, forget it.

                    1. I'm another "it depends". Depends on the food, depends on the day of the week (cleaning sched).

                      If I drop an orange I am about to peel on a floor mopped 15 minutes ago? Bah. Rinse the sucker off and proceed.

                      Drop an orange slice on the floor though? Into the trash it goes.

                      1. My floors are washed daily and there are no shoes worn in the house. All shoes and sandals are dropped at the door.
                        I don't worry about it.

                        1. If it falls on the floor, it gets chucked, period. Not anything still in it's wrapper, but you know what I mean. I keep my floors very clean, but I have 2 dogs. That makes "the rule" in my house a pretty straightforward one.

                          1. I'm not too hygienic in the kitchen, so the 5 second rule can easily get stretched. Depends what it is - some vegetable or other - certainly I'll eat it. A broken egg - nope.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Harters

                              Broken eggs are for the dog -- she cleans the floor very nicely!

                            2. I will drop something on the floor, take it away from the dog and then eat it.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: kengk

                                That's the spirit. I don't have a pet but that's my philosophy as well.

                                1. re: kengk

                                  <take it away from the dog and then eat it>

                                  Last time I try to take something from a dog (baby sitting a puppy), he bit me. I then screamed and chased him around the house.....

                                  Not a good idea.

                                  1. re: kengk


                                    Taking anything, in the way of food, from my dog would, most likely, require stitches on my part.

                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      What if he gets something with poison on it?

                                      I am the master of my dogs. We can do it easy or we can do it hard but it's getting done my way.

                                      1. re: kengk

                                        Yeah, I can reach into my dog's mouth and pull something out. I draw the line at eating it, though.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          I can take things right out of the dog's mouth, too, but no way is it going in mine! I'm looking forward to moving into a new place that has normal sized doorways into the kitchen so I can gate the dogs out. It'll make cooking a lot easier, and I may be a little more flexible with my food dropping rule!

                                  2. Unrelated to food, but my mom has a five second rule for clothing. Whenever I was a kid and dropping cloths on the floor, she would always yell at me to pick them up as soon as possible. I would always say that the cloth is already on the floor. It does not get anymore dirty by staying there, and is in no hurry to be picked up.

                                    1. Depending on what it is. Sometimes yes. sometimes no.
                                      I dropped a fried shrimp on the floor last night...picked it up, back in the pot for a few seconds, straight on to a Po-Boy! Delicious!! ~~ Sometimes in the summer if I drop a slice of tomato on the floor. Nope! into the garbage.

                                      1. I use it when the situation is right (type of food, state of floor) M&Ms don't have such a short time limit though.

                                        1. For the Catholics out there...
                                          Remember "kiss it up to Jesus" as a kid? Sort of like our version of the 5-second rule. lol :)

                                          1. All the time, for everyone (don't tell my friends!). But then I'm European and don't shower every day. The horror. ;-)