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A lot of people who work in offices have a special coffee mug that they hold onto very tightly. People frequently develop a protective attitude toward their special cup, which acts as a vehicle for their daily caffeine fix and a means of expressing who they are. Additionally, it serves as a conduit for warm beverages, which have been demonstrated to enhance feelings of warmth in metaphor. Researchers have hypothesised that, despite the office mug's seemingly innocent appearance, there may be a sinister secret inside.

According to microbiologist and University of Arizona professor Dr Charles Gerba, "about 90% of most office coffee mugs harbour dangerous germs, and 20% of those carry faecal bacteria," as reported by LifeHacker. From where are those harmful microbes coming from? Most likely the act of cleaning itself. The amount of bacteria and viruses found in kitchen sponges and sinks is so high that it dwarfs the amount found in toilets. A shared sponge and sink only makes the issue worse because they are breeding grounds for bacteria. 

Is this proof for those of us who are less concerned about hygiene and are content to just give their mugs a quick rinse? Perhaps. However, avoid leaving milk or sugar in your mug. Professor Jeffrey Starke of Baylor College of Medicine, an expert in infectious diseases, says, "Leaving cream or sugar in your mug over the weekend can definitely cause mould to grow." The best course of action in that situation is to wash your mug at home. As an alternative, you could wash up with only disposable paper towels and refrain from touching any kitchen surfaces. Naturally, those who are environmentally conscious and only use reusable cups to reduce paper waste may find that to be discouraging news. 

What then is the response to this age-old query? How often should your coffee mug at work be washed? In the end, there's never a perfect answer. The main pieces of advice seem to be to take extra precautions by rinsing your office cup after each use, tossing it in the dishwasher every day, and avoiding using a communal sponge. 

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