Any machine that makes doing chores less daunting is a necessity, and this is why you can find a dishwasher in roughly 60% of households in America, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
While there are many benefits that accompany owning a dishwasher, there are also a few cons, but none of them are as scary as the fact that the coveted machine could be slowly killing you.
A group of researchers at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia analyzed two dozen dishwashers as well as their rubber seals and water supply. The study yielded some startling results.
The researchers found some dangerous bacteria hiding in these dishwashers, including many that are known to cause some serious life-threatening illnesses, food poisoning, and skin infections.
So what types of bacteria did they find and how can you protect yourself from these pathogens?
The Slovenian scientists found a number of pathogens, including Escherichia, which covers strains like E.coli. This bacteria is known to contaminate food and cause life-threatening illness in humans when ingested.
In addition to E.coli, the dishwashers also contained Pseudonomas, which is linked to chest infections; Acinetobacter, which causes infections in the urinary tract and inner heart lining; and Candida, a fungi which causes thrush.
In the findings published in the "Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology," it is believed that bacteria and fungi enter the dishwasher through the tap water supply as well as the food left on the dishes. The hot air produced during a wash cycle launches some of these microorganisms into your home. So it's extremely important to rinse your dishes before placing them in the machine.
The researchers also noted that there were some "opportunistic pathogenic representatives" lurking in the rubber seals of the dishwashers they examined. These are the type of pathogens that can cause serious complications in people with weak or compromised immune systems, like babies, the elderly, organ transplant recipients, and those undergoing chemotherapy.
"The risk is probably in the realm of a shark attack," Erica Hartmann, an assistant professor at Northwestern University, told HealthDay.
However, despite the fact that the average, healthy person may not be greatly impacted by these pathogens, experts recommend taking precautionary measures anyway.
You can reduce the number of these dangerous pathogens by wiping down your dishwasher's rubber seal after each cycle. To ensure that the microbes are not being released into your home's air flow, allow the dishwasher to cool down completely before opening it.
Do you own a dishwasher? Let us know in the comments!