#874 The Five Second Rule

Still good

The Five Second Rule simply states that any food dropped on the floor is perfectly fine to eat as long as you pick it up in less than five seconds.

The rule has many variations, including The Three Second Rule, The Seven Second Rule, and the extremely handy and versatile The However Long It Took Me To Pick This Food Up Rule. But whatever version you use, there’s just no denying why it’s great:

  1. Makes you look less disgusting. Because now when you eat that wet grape that rolled into the corner by the heating vent and collected some cat hair and a few old, dry toast crumbs, you’re not disgusting. No, you’re just a law abiding Kitchen Citizen. Big difference.
  2. Saves time and money. Wait, wait, wait, don’t pull the peanut butter and jelly out again and make a whole new sandwich. No, we’ll just blow the floor spice off this one and maybe tear off the wet, soggy piece of crust that landed in juice puddle. It’s all good.
  3. It’s scientifically proven. Well, actually it’s scientifically proven that if a floor is covered in salmonella or E. Coli, your food will be covered in salmonella or E. Coli, even if they touch for a split second. But, and here’s the kicker, the same study showed no significant evidence of contamination on public flooring in general. Good save, Science.

So people, I give you a friend and savior in these tough times: The Five Second Rule. Know it. Love it.

Live by it.



Photos from: here and here

40 thoughts on “#874 The Five Second Rule

  1. +1 on “Floor Spice”.

    I’m a big proponent of the 5-second rule, and use it with all things, much to the wife’s dismay. Recent examples include: a scoop of ice cream, and a piece of turkey breast.

    However, the one time I wished I’d decided not to use the 5-second rule was when I dropped a piece of gum (that I was chewing) onto the floor of my friends living room carpet. To explain why this was such a big problem, I only need 4 words: My. Friend. Had. Cats. A mouthful of gummy-cat-hair later, made me decide to be a bit more careful in the future.

    Another Awesome thing for the list, in a similar theme – the 5 (or 10) minute rule, which states: If your teacher (or professor) doesn’t show up within 5 (or 10) minutes of the scheduled start of class – Everyone can go home! The most famous proponent of this rule was one Mr. Zach Morris.


    1. Does it apply to pants, like if your pants fall to the floor, does she have five seconds to put the sausage in her mouth…you sick bastard…I will be starting a blog site soon hope you all can join in!

  2. I have to do a project in science. It’s a persuasive speech that is science related. I picked the 5-second rule and if you research it, it’s nasty. Do your research and then I bet you will think twice about eating that food off the floor.

  3. I lived by the 5 second rule until college when I moved into a house with several young bachelor room mates. That’s when I changed to the one hop rule – anything that can be caught after just one bounce is still edible.

    One more thing – I didn’t do my own research, but the Mythbusters did for me and I’ll still eat food that hit the floor. I’m sure you can probably find it on youtube. Don’t let a little science scare you away though.

  4. So much food saved and into my stomach thanks to this little rule.

    Although, if it’s already been in my mouth then hits the ground- it’s a no-no. Just leave the soldier behind fellows. He’s given all he can give.

  5. Anyone watch the animated movie Osmosis Jones? Watching that movie will tell you why the 5 second rule (ten seconds in this case) is not a good rule when near animals.

    1. Yes! I watched it. Our health teacher made us watch it. Torn between disgusting and funny on that movie.

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  8. There are many exceptions to the 5-second rule, all discovered when they actually happened to me:
    – Public concourses – I saw a kid pick up a chip from the floor of the O’Hara airport. Right away I knew it was an exception
    – Public bathrooms – need I say more
    – Anything wet

    Actually, I discovered that I kept getting canker sores after obeying this rule, so now I just toss it. I am more careful not to drop things, knowing they will be lost to me forever.

    1. Ha! O’Hara airport? Do the planes only fly to that plantation from Gone With The Wind?

      Also – you’re trying to establish a link between canker sores and eating food off the ground? Our egghead friends at wikipedia confirm that the cause of these is unknown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphthous_ulcer (careful – lots of gross pictures of cankers sores)

  9. Studying for medical assisting im not sure if the is a good one or not but I follow it on rare occasions

  10. and when others are too lazy to pick up there perfectly good food, or think they are to good to eat crap thats not even been on the floor for 5 secs and you score and extra chip!

  11. Hahaha!
    I’m hearing this for the first time even though that’s my theory too- something getting too dirty if it stays at the floor too long.

    P.S. I just heard about this website yesterday and I think I’ll be visiting it every time I visit :D

  12. The five second rule is usually really good for dry foods like m&m’s, pretzels, etc. They don’t gather bacteria as fast since the bacteria needs some sort of moisture to adhere to. Now if you were to drop something that had more moisture in it such as meat, fruits, or cheese you run a higher risk of eating harmful bacteria as they would gather the bacteria a lot faster.

  13. My kids used to pull gum out from under restaurant tables and come up with a mouth full. They are fairly healthy adults now with kids of their own.
    I guess the 5 second rule doesn’t apply to pre-and re-chewed gum unstuck from under a table!

    1. just like Jimminy Cricket said, “give a little whistle” blow, and you’re good to go…chow down!

  14. Now if you were to drop something that had more moisture in it such as meat, fruits, or cheese you run a higher risk of eating harmful bacteria as they would gather the bacteria a lot faster.

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  16. My sister taught me this rule a bit different: You have to count to three and after that you cant eat the food anymore, but you can start to count everytime you want to and as slow as you want. So if you have to search for your fallen pretzel under your table because you have got a carpet of the same colour, just start to count when you found it-still good! (And sorry for my English :P)

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  18. You know what is even more amazing? The five second rule is internationally known. I’ve always thought it is just an Austrian thing, as I knew it by “Die Fünf-Sekunden-Regel” but actually after reading this article I realise: it is part of IAL (international awesome law). :-)

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