People have been boiling their underwear in hotel kettles and it's super gross

People have been boiling their underwear in hotel kettles and it's super gross
PHOTO: Pixabay

It should be stating the obvious that kettles are not made to boil anything other than water. And especially not one's underwear.

However, it has recently been brought to the internet's attention that boiling soiled undergarments in kettles to clean them is actually a thing.

And it's a revelation that has left many of us with a bad taste in our mouths (pun not intended).

Here's how it started.

According to a report in Gizmodo Australia, someone had asked on Twitter: "Real question: does anyone I know clean their underwear in a kettle while travelling?"

on Twitter

And the positive responses that followed meant that it's not just one person -  there could be a whole community of underwear-boiling kettle users among us. A similar thread on the topic was also spotted last year on Weibo.

There's even talk that cabin crew are known to boil their underwear in kettles on overnight stopovers. "But one stewardess who was caught got fired," our colleague here helpfully shares.

Disturbing indeed.

on Twitter

on Twitter

More disturbing though, is the fact that not all bacteria can be 100 per cent eradicated through boiling. Which means - you could be ingesting it the next time you boil a pot of tea in your hotel room.

We'll just let that sink in for a minute.

on Twitter

on Twitter

Gizmodo Australia reached out to Dr Heather Hendrickson, a senior lecturer in molecular biosciences at the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at Massey University in Auckland, who said: "Boiling kills most, but not all microorganisms."

Some microorganisms may not cause sickness when consumed, "but their presence in certain environments can encourage them to produce a toxin that can be deadly."

"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 said, calling the act "unbelievably irresponsible."

"Hotel kettles are communal and by no means industrial-strength cleaning facilities means that there are just too many unknowns to encourage blanching your underwear in this way.

"Not to mention that it is "super, super, super, super gross," Hendrickson added.

So, to everyone reading this who has ever committed this extremely unsanitary act, please, stop. You're just ruining hot beverages in hotel rooms everywhere for the rest of us.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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