The Five Second Rule – Is There Any Truth to It?

6 min read
The Five Second Rule – Is There Any Truth to It?

We’ve all watched our kids drop food on the floor, pick it up and eat it. Okay, maybe it’s only me”¦ but I am not afraid to admit that I’ve found my daughter on the floor on numerous occasions, eating bits of muffin, cereal and pasta that have been dropped.

And”¦ we’ve all most likely heard of the Five Second Rule….. You know, that as long as you pick the food up in the five seconds after it drops, then it’s good to eat. But is there any truth to this? And how can we ensure our floors are as clean as possible just in case?

According to two recent studies done at the Aston University in Birmingham, England, and Manchester M University”¦ the five second rule is real!

So is There Some Truth to the Five Second Rule? 

A team of researchers at Aston tested a wide range of foods on four different floors (carpet, tile, wood and laminate) to see if there is any truth to the five second rule.  And this (in a nutshell) is what they discovered:

  • When food comes into contact with contaminated surfaces, the transfer of bacteria to the food is immediate. In other words, if there is salmonella on your floor and you drop a piece of toast directly in this spot, then, yes, the food can be contaminated with it.
  • However, the study also concluded that the immediate transfer of bacteria is extremely low hence the ‘five second rule’.
  • Tile, wood and laminate surfaces transfer much more bacteria than carpeted surfaces (but did they take into account the pet hair that comes with carpet?)
  • Moist foods (cooked pasta, sticky candy) are more likely to pick up bacteria than dry food (toast or a cookie).
  • And finally, moist foods picked up approximately 20 times more bacteria than dried food.


 Adorable brother and sister eating from spaghetti mess on floor over white.

Bickie or Bread? Some Foods Are Safer than Others

Another study done by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) also put the five second rule to the test with five different foods bread with jam, cooked pasta, ham, a plain biscuit and dried fruit. The foods were left for three second, five second and ten second intervals to see just how much bacteria ended up on each food item.  Here is how they fared:

  • After five seconds, the ham showed little signs of bacterial growth.
  • After five seconds, the jam with bread showed little signs of bacterial growth.
  • After five seconds the dried fruit showed signs of klebsiella (a bacteria which can lead to a wide range of diseases including UTI, pneumonia and soft tissue conditions).
  • After five seconds the cooked pasta shared the same fate as the dried fruit.
  • After five seconds the biscuits contained very little signs of bacterial growth. This was also the case after ten seconds.

So, again, it would appear that moist and sticky food attract more bacteria than dried food but the five second rule does not apply in all cases.

What About the Dummy?

Do you have to sterilise a dummy every time a baby drops it? This was also part of the test and the team at MMC reported that after three seconds, five seconds and ten seconds,

“The child’s dummy, which all our case studies admitted dropping on the floor regularly and then returning to their children, showed very low levels of E coli, Pseudomonas and yeasts.” – MMU Kathy Lees


So what does all of this mean? Preventing Bacteria on your Floors

Would you still let your child eat food from the side walk?

Most likely not.

Would you let your baby put a dummy back in her mouth after it fell into a puddle of chicken blood on the counter?

Of course not.

And you probably wouldn’t let your child eat his dinner off the tiled floor every night”¦ but the best way to ensure that the occasional snack off the laminate won’t harm him, is to keep your floors as clean as possible. Regular mopping is an important way to protect our families from bacteria and keep our floors clean.

Are Your Floors Clean Enough?

Floors should, ideally, be mopped once a day but often this doesn’t happen (it doesn’t at my place I can tell you that much!!) It is also important that you are using a mop that is actually cleaning the floors and removing the bacteria rather than just spreading it around.

The ENJO Floor Cleaner is an excellent option for keeping your floors clean and ensuring they are safe and free from bacteria as well as floor cleaning chemicals that can also cause health problems for your children. ENJO Fibres only use water but remove up to 100% of bacteria. They are six times more hygienic than conventional cleaning and the fibres last up to three years. There is no need to replace the cloth or use chemical cleaners to ensure the bacteria is eliminated. Plus you can use it on any type of floors simply pick the right fibre for your floor surface.

Even though having a clean floor is important for most parents, let’s face it, some days there just isn’t enough time to give the floors a proper mop. The ENJO Floor Cleaner is so incredibly lightweight and easy to manoeuvre that it’s become part of the kitchen clean up routine to give the floors a quick wipe down after clearing the table.  Even if you can’t get to a thorough mopping every day, you can rest assured that you have removed as much bacteria as possible with the ENJO Floor Cleaner.

For a limited time, ENJO have a great deal receive a free limited edition green floor cleaner (valued at $99) when you buy any two floor fibres.

Flawless Floors Image

Food for Thought

Taking care of our house and our kids is a big (and rewarding) part of life as a mum and the can make the cleaning side of things a lot easier. But how does the ENJO Floorcleaner work without chemicals? It’s all in the types of fibres used and the number of times the fibre is split, each fibre is 100 times finer that a human hair this technology allows the Floor Fibre to lift, trap and hold any dust, dirt, bacteria, grease and grime.A single ENJO Fibre is 100 times finer than a human hair and each strand lifts, traps and holds dust, dirt, bacteria, grease and grime. The particles are only released from the fibre when the clothes are washed or shaken. So regardless of what’s on your floor”¦ from salmonella to sandwich crumbs, and whether or not you believe in the five second rule, with this product you can rest assured that your floor is as clean as possible.

Have you ever caught your child eating food from the floor? Share your stories in the comments below! And be sure to check out the ENJO Floor Cleaner available through their website and FREE when you purchase two fibres.


**This post is sponsored by ENJO





Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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