Bad news: Your office tea run is absolutely disgusting. Here's why

Emma Haslett
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Beware the office tea run (Source: Getty)

Think twice before warming up with a cup of tea in the office today, for new research has suggested office tea bags contain 17 times more microbes than the average toilet seat.

The research by Initial Washroom Hygiene, which swabbed six average office kitchens, found the boxes containing tea bags are among the most bacterial places, with a bacterial reading of 3,785, compared with a "normal" reading of between 200 and 500.

The next-grossest place was the kettle handle, with a reading of 2,483, followed by the rim of a used mug, at 1,746.

Bear in mind that one in 10 mugs are accidentally mixed up on the average tea run - while five per cent of those who mixed them up admitting they did it on purpose.

Area Bacterial reading
1 Tea bag box/tin 3785
2 Kettle handle 2483
3 Rim of used mug 1746
4 Fridge door handle 1592
5 Sugar container 1406
6 Kitchen tap 1331
7 Sink surface/drying rack 1234
8 Hot water tap 1160
9 Kitchen top 948
10 Cutlery drawer handle 754

The researchers warned that bad hygiene in the office kitchen could lead to cross contamination and even the spread of infections such as Norovirus.

"If you stop to think about the number of different hands that touch things such as the kettle handle,tea bag box lid, mugs, and so on, the potential for cross contamination really adds up," said spokesman Peter Barratt.

"With 80 per cent of all infections transmitted by hand, simply washing one’s hands thoroughly can help to overcome the potential cross contamination risks associated with the office tea run. And yet many office kitchens seem poorly equipped to offer the users access to good hand and surface hygiene.”

Read more: Put that iced coffee down: There's a good chance it is unbelievably gross