a follow-up on the boss dumping pee in the sink … with Ask a Clean Person

After Monday’s letter about the boss who pees in a  cup and dumps it in the kitchen sink,  I asked the brilliant Jolie Kerr of Ask a Clean Person to weigh in. Jolie is a cleaning expert, advice columnist, host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person, and a regular contributor to the New York Times. (She  wrote an amazing recent profile of Charo!) There is no better person to answer the many burning questions that many of us had about the cleanliness element of this debacle.

Here’s Jolie:

Earlier this week, Alison answered a question about a man who was urinating into a jar in his office, and then walking the jar of pee to the shared kitchen sink to dump the contents down the drain. In one instance, he disposed of the pee while someone was washing actual dishes in the actual sink. She quite rightly said that this is in no way acceptable workplace behavior! It is not.

But there were also questions about whether this is something that is actually gross or just psychologically disgusting — after all, under normal circumstances, urine goes into the same drain system that sink water does. And peeing in the shower, i.e. into a similar drainage system, is okay to do. There was also the question of whether the dishes that bore the brunt of the pee-pouring could be used again. And so I will try to answer them, in my capacity as an official Clean Person.

Let’s first establish two things: First of all, this man is disgusting. For many reasons! It is never okay to dispose of your personal waste on someone or on their things unless it is consensual, and so pouring urine down a sink while someone is standing there doing dishes is absolutely not okay. Also, he is clearly not washing his hands after he relieves himself, which everyone should be doing every time. Yes, every time. Second, it’s important to know that urine isn’t sterile, as many people believe it to be.

With that said, technically speaking, yes you can clean those dishes — after all, we put plenty of bacteria-ridden items on plates, things like raw chicken or pork that can make us quite sick! There are several ways to do this: You can run the dishes through the dishwasher using the “sanitize” setting; you can soak them in a mild bleach solution and then wash them with hot soapy water; or, depending on what they’re made of, you could even boil them after first washing them with dish soap. All of these methods will leave the plates entirely clean.

But you will know what happened to them, and unfortunately there is no safe way to bleach a brain. I would say that the plates, simply by dint of having been doused with pee, are goners. If the idea of throwing out still-serviceable items bothers you, however, I might suggest getting a Sharpie and writing, “THIS IS BOB’S PLATE. THAT HE PEED ON.” on it and reserving it for Bob’s use and Bob’s use only.

So there you have it.

P.S. Jolie’s past advice has now saved my favorite pair of sweatpants and a Frappuccino-stained sheet. She will save all your belongings. Her book is My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha.

{ 503 comments… read them below }

  1. Grits McGee*

    But you will know what happened to them, and unfortunately there is no safe way to bleach a brain.

    Oh man, if there was ever a sentence destined to be cross stitched onto a tea towel, surely this is it.

    1. Belle of the Midwest*

      Absolutely spot on. Jolie, you are the heroine we all need but don’t deserve. PS–loved your profile of Charo.

    2. hayling*

      I know, right? Jolie is the greatest. I appreciate that she understands that even if something is “clean” it may just gross you out so much that you can never use it again, and that’s ok!

    3. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

      My husband was actually prescribed eyeball bleach (OK, technically, eyelid bleach). Too late though I think for the OP. I am *dying* for an update to this letter.

    1. MusicWithRocksInIt*

      This was one of those rare moments that made me laugh out loud at my desk. This is the best answer to that question ever.

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Brilliant suggestion! I also hope that there is a company luncheon or something and that Bob gets served on his own pee-plate.

    3. Flash Bristow*

      You need to get one of those wall hangers for [decorative or commemorative] plates.

      Don’t forget to date Bob’s plate, commemorate the event, add some mini stick men peeing round the edge if you have a fineliner… then hang it for all to see. Put it just a little too high to be removed without using a step.

      If the kitchen isn’t appropriate – but I think it is! – hang in the ladies’ loos where Bob won’t be confronted by it?

      Tee hee!

    4. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      IKR?! That made me laugh so hard that I almost busted out the sides of my playpen! Priceless!

    5. Creag an Tuire*

      Part of me thinks this is a good idea, part of me is worried what will happen when Bob realizes he can assert ownership of things by peeing on them.

  2. Jennifer*

    “But you will know what happened to them, and unfortunately there is no safe way to bleach a brain. I would say that the plates, simply by dint of having been doused with pee, are goners. If the idea of throwing out still-serviceable items bothers you, however, I might suggest getting a Sharpie and writing, “THIS IS BOB’S PLATE. THAT HE PEED ON.” on it and reserving it for Bob’s use and Bob’s use only.”

    This is why I love her. He PEED ON IT! I can’t with the people who would use those plates again. I just CAN’T!! lol…

    Her podcast this week was also about work-related grossness and really funny.

    1. hbc*

      I would totally use that plate again. I get why others wouldn’t, but my brain is generally good about overriding the visceral reaction with the demonstrable fact that they’re totally clean. It also cracks me up when people get livid about their significant other using their toothbrush when they regularly swap saliva much more directly, or sanitize a dropped pacifier for a kid who regularly gums whatever they get their hands on.

      But don’t worry, I respect other people’s visceral reactions and won’t surprise them with a pee plate.

      1. Submerged Tenths*

        You are my new hero! Having worked with 300+ dogs for 10 years, I got over the “i just can’t” about grossness -human and canine- very early on.

        1. Jennifer*

          Most people who have cared for animals or babies (I’ve done both) have had to clean up waste. There should still be a separation between that and things we eat food off of. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Some of the comments last time made me wonder if I was the strange one, lol.

          I agree about the toothbrush thing.

          1. Crooked Bird*

            I think with dogs it may be more about the fact that they lick your mouth all the time than the waste. At least babies don’t do that!

      2. Miss Muffet*

        the toothbrush thing never made any sense to me either. But pee. On a plate. Just so much wrong with that.

      3. Close Bracket*

        I didn’t get the toothbrush thing until my friend said, “Sure, you kiss, but you don’t scrape off plaque with each other’s tongues.” And now, you better not even look sideways at my toothbrush.

        1. hbc*

          Yeah, but unless you’re leaving visible amounts of plaque on your toothbrush, you’re probably getting as much or more junk from tongue wrestling as you would from a toothbrush.

          Again, not trying to talk anyone out of anything. I just take issue when people go beyond “That squicks me out, no go” to “That is objectively and provably gross based on [tenuous claim] and you are disgusting for doing it.”

          1. Close Bracket*

            Probably not getting a lot of plaque from the toothbrush, assuming they are rinsed after use. Definitely not getting any plaque from kissing, though. Maybe if I Frenched kissed my cat, but then she would be getting my plaque, not the other way around.

            1. Properlike*

              I read an article, possibly even a study, that said people in a (kissing) relationship take on the microbiome of their partner’s mouth. When I started dating my husband, I stopped getting cavities. He’s never had one. (Note to self: Kiss husband more before next week’s dentist appointment.)

              1. Nicelutherangirl*

                Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend kissing for their patients who are in relationships.

              2. Duckles*

                I got my first and only four cavities at the check-up three months after I started dating my ex-fiancé! #heedthesigns

              3. Soultoast*

                I can’t think of an appropriate way to volunteer to kiss your husband for this benefit but I think you have an untapped goldmine here. :)

              4. Elizabeth West*

                Man, I need to find someone with excellent teeth and kiss the heck out of them.

              5. Arts Akimbo*

                OMG!!! Me too– my spouse never had any cavities and I had a ton, then I stopped getting them around the time we started dating! :-O

              6. Gatomon*

                Ooh I’m one of those no-cavity people! Finally, some part of me that is functioning right! I humbly offer a sample of my spit to science.

                1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  Annnnd now I’m worrying about the source of those “dental-health probiotics” we took a gamble on after my husband’s root canal… I will not show him this.

        2. The Original K.*

          I had the toothbrush argument with an ex. He used mine when he stayed over at my place and I was like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” And he said, um, we’re intimate, what’s the difference? And intellectually I knew he was right, but I was still like “Go down the block and buy a spare.”

      4. SarcasticFringehead*

        I’m reminded of a woman I knew in college who wouldn’t buy plates or silverware from thrift stores because she felt like she could never get them clean, but slept on a mattress she found by the side of the road.

        1. MusicWithRocksInIt*

          I know statistically that some of the things left on the side of the road are probably not covered in bedbugs, but I am never gonna get the idea that they are un-hardwired out of my brain.

          1. OhNo*

            I’m glad I’m not the only one afflicted with the perpetual idea that something at the side of the road has bedbugs. I don’t care how nice it is, I’m not taking the risk!

            1. RUKiddingMe*

              Me either! I also wont buy used plates, silverware, pots, etc.

              I knew someone once that used one as a toilet…she had no choice…very ill, no bed pan, not fast enough to get to a bathroom (amputee)… So it was either the pan that was *right there* or the floor. Still gross.

              I wasn’t there for the show thank god. And…she threw it away instead if using it for spaghetti or something.

              1. seejay*

                I once used a plate that was beside my bed to catch cat barf. Cat was in the bed, starting to make that “HURK HURK” sound, and it was either shove the cat off the loft bed (not feasible since her falling 8 feet to the floor would probably hurt her), let her throw up on the bed sheets, or catch the yark in my hands. So I grabbed the plate I just had a snack on and stuck it under her face.

                I stuck it in the dishwasher after that, but whatevers.

                1. Elitist Semicolon*

                  “Catch the yark in my hands” made me laugh so hard that I cried in my office. I salute both your use of language and your plate-vomit intervention!

                2. Sen. Longfellow Kittypants*

                  I don’t have a cat. But I have way less issue with my imaginary cat’s puke on a plate than pee on a plate. Like, I can get past seeing a cat ralph on a plate. I cannot ever get past man pee.

              2. Jen S. 2.0*

                GROSS ALERT:

                I exchanged messages with a friend the other day about a news article noting that a woman was charged with killing and cooking her boyfriend after his tooth was found in her blender.

                Me: Hm. Must have been a Vitamix.

                Friend: See, that’s why I don’t buy used anything. Who knows what’s been in that thrift store appliance? I had only thought as far as people soaking their feet in a Crock-Pot, but now I have to worry about people blending their boyfriends in their Vitamix.

                1. RUKiddingMe*

                  You’d think the murderer would have at least rinsed it before getting rid of it…

              3. whingedrinking*

                I know someone who got freaked out because his girlfriend used a menstrual cup, and she would sanitize it by boiling it in water in a pot which she kept in the kitchen. I can’t remember if the pot was expressly put aside for this purpose or if it was also used for cooking in.
                On the one hand, I do think this was excessive – he had no problem putting her dirty underwear in the laundry, and it was definitely more germ-ridden than something that was used once a month to literally sterilize a silicone medical device. On the other hand, I don’t think I’d want to eat mac ‘n cheese that had been cooked in the period pot either.

                1. RUKiddingMe*

                  Was it that she was using a pot to boil it or “ewwww periods?” I can see being icked out by using a regular cooking pot for sterilizing anything personal like that, but if it was a dedicated pot, that was never, ever used for anything else, and not kept in the kitchen where it could accidentally be used by mistake, even my massively germaphobic, tends toward OCD about this stuff self would be ok with this.

                2. whingedrinking*

                  The pot was kept in the kitchen, though I don’t remember if it was dedicated to that purpose or if she used it for food as well. In fairness, she lived alone, so it wasn’t like someone else was going to accidentally use it while she wasn’t around. The horrified reaction kind of had an element of “bathroom stuff happening in the kitchen!!” that I found a bit easier to accept than just “how dare she have a period”.

                3. RUKiddingMe*

                  Yeah well bathroom stuff should never happen in the kitchen…hard agree on that. I just had to ask because so many guys are all “ewww periods.” Yanno?

                4. Pandop*

                  Ran out of nesting, but yes. Hormones make male and female pee different. Male pee makes a better mordant for dyeing.

              4. Seeking Second Childhood*

                I come from a long line of “sidewalk shoppers” — but since the bedbug resurgence I am much more restrained. Things that can be bleached, things that stay outside, things I can put in my deep-freezer for 3 weeks, you get the picture.

            2. Properlike*

              People across the street put out a whole bedroom set on the parkway one day. We were mystified. That’s good stuff! When we walked over there, we saw the word BEDBUGS scrawled on every piece and couldn’t get away fast enough.

              1. Flash Bristow*

                When a neighbour died (found in bed after a week “missing”) the council workers who cleaned her house out left the mattress for collection on the street.

                They didn’t make any attempt to hide the stains…which I shaln’t describe but were hideous.

                People were up in arms as it’s a cul-de-sac, down which primary school children walk every day.

                I hope the council have changed their process now(!) – they collected pretty fast when we all complained – but it also makes me think twice about what’s left outside and why. I’ll take old metal stuff as perches for my chickens, otherwise no.
                Good of your neighbours to label their stuff with a warning. Ugh all round.

              2. RUKiddingMe*

                OMG! Why didn’t they dispose of it properly (whatever that is)?

                On a side note, I vote for bringing back DDT (or whatever) because the whole bed bug thing is out of hand again.

                ::steps off soapbox::

                1. C Baker*

                  Disposing of bedbug ridden trash properly IS putting it out on the street for pickup with the word “bedbugs” written all over it. It’s all going to the same dump.

                  Here in NYC you also have to cover all mattresses in plastic first, which is a sensible precaution anyway.

          2. FoxyDog*

            I have pets, so I always assume someone’s cat or dog has peed on it. I mean, they’re getting rid of it for a reason probably.

          3. Michaela Westen*

            Even if not bedbugs, there are plenty of critters crawling around by the side of the road. :p
            Where I live it would be rats, mice, and insects. Maybe rabbits, and probably birds.

        2. Flash Bristow*

          Crockery can have tannin stains on them. Mattresses can *look* clean, and you’re putting a sheet over it anyway, right?

          (No no, I agree it’s icky!)

        3. Jadelyn*

          Cookware from a thrift shop I can kinda get? It’s metal and/or porcelain, it can be sterilized. What gets me is sheets and blankets. I always shudder walking past that section. Maybe not rational, but I just cannot understand buying used sheets no matter how well they’ve been washed.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Well, I could if I really had no money and there was nothing else and they came from someplace halfway clean. I can always wash them in hot water with a little bleach. But new sheets aren’t really that expensive unless you’re desperately poor.

          2. Free Meerkats*

            Just a quick note on thrift stores – they don’t wash anything. There’s no huge bank of washers and dryers in the back. They fold stuff and put it on a hanger.

            That said, I buy sheets at thrift stores to use instead of buying muslin at the fabric store for making muslins. I always make and fit a muslin if I’m using a new pattern or making a costume using multiple patterns – the muslin becomes the pattern for the finished piece. But I wash the sheets before I use them.

          3. Kuddel Daddeldu*

            Not to rain on your parade, but when do you sleep in hotels – do you bring your own bedding?

      5. The RO-Cat*

        I get it, hbc. My 9-months-long conscription in a Communist country’s Army squeezed out any squeamishness my education and upbringing might have instilled in me, and geting older and caring for some elderly relatives didn’t help either. There’s very little that grosses me out now, so I’d use the dishes – after a thorough cleaning – without a second thought. But I respect other people’s gut reactions, too, so I never tell what happened to which object ;-)

        1. TPS Cover Sheet*

          Well, firstly you ate out of a mess kit that had been used. I did service in 1990 and I had a kit stamped 1944… nevermind my fatigues were from the 1980’s, but you never wanted brand new boots.

      6. Birch*

        The toothbrush thing actually bothers me a lot more than pee on plates. Toothbrushes are for getting pieces of soggy, saliva-soaked partially digested food particles out from between your teeth and scraping the gunk off your tongue, and there is no way to really clean all that gunk off the bristles once it’s on there. You know how a hairbrush gets bits of lint stuck between the fibers? Or how a dish brush gets stuff trapped in the bristles? Like that, but a million times worse because you’re putting it in your mouth. Bad enough that people don’t change their own toothbrushes often enough–sharing a toothbrush is like french kissing with food in your mouth, baby-bird style.

        That being said, I vote for not using Bob’s Pee Plates.

        1. Lissa*

          Same here! It’s not about the saliva, it’s about the food particles and “Debris”. I often do think that people fall back to “it’s unhygienic” about things that really aren’t going to make you sick but it’s OK to be like “nope, can’t do it” based on a reaction that may technically be “irrational”. When posting here I often feel like I’m a terribly gross person since things that others worry about don’t even phase me but I couldn’t share a toothbrush!! I acknowledge my irrationality. :) and i’ll still eat potluck food.

          1. Nobby Nobbs*

            What people find too gross to tolerate is so personal, and commenters here make declarations about it with such conviction, that I often find myself feeling both too gross and too prissy for civilized company. It’s a trip! (I also eat at pot lucks and am grossed out by the toothbrush thing.)

            1. Mimi Me*

              My husband has a very different idea of what constitutes gross than I do. Out of milk for the Mac & Cheese? Use peach yogurt. Hungry but there’s nothing good in the fridge? Eat the meatballs in the tupperware container on the side of the sink…the one that’s been sitting there for 2 days. (Yes, he’s literally done both…and so much more.) He’s also one of those guys who has no issue eating the leftovers of someone else.
              We had a conversation about how everyone has varying ideas of what’s gross last night during dinner. My son is 13 and won’t eat food that another person has touched. Buffets, potlucks, something off of another person’s plate? He won’t even think about it. He doesn’t even like his food to touch on his plate (although, that doesn’t keep him from eating it, he just doesn’t like it when it touches.)
              My husband would probably eat off the Pee Plate as long as it was sanitized. My son would have to destroy it with fire and then still insist that the pee got on him. I’m somewhere in the middle of the two…though I lean more towards my son than my husband’s ideas of gross.

              1. Flash Bristow*

                It’s not always grossness tho, is it? Hubby can take stuff that’s out of date, he has a stronger constitution than me by far. Me, I have to be careful of the provenance of what I eat, even though it’s well in date. It’s not “ew, gross” it’s “hmm. Better not risk it”.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  To me that’s a chicken-and-egg situation, though. My partner is suuuuuper touchy about “best by” dates on food, because his mom was a huge germophobe when he was a kid and never let him eat anything if it was within a week of its “best by” date. I’m more on the “hey, as long as it smells ok and looks ok I should be fine” side, because that’s how I was raised. If it wasn’t obviously gone bad, we’d eat it anyway.

                  He has zero immune system. He gets a cold or something at least once a quarter. I, on the other hand, get sick maybe once every other year. I think it’s because my immune system had to work for its keep when I was growing up, and his didn’t. So at this point, is he touchy about expiry dates on food because he has to be, or does he have to be careful because he’s never eaten anything that was even a tiny bit past its prime?

                2. whingedrinking*

                  @ Jadelyn: I worked for a little while for a bath and beauty company that puts expiration dates on all their products. Some of them are good for over a year, but some of them have quite a short shelf life. One guy called in to say his product (one of the short-lived ones) was two days past its expiration date, and was it still okay to use?
                  I said that the date was mostly there to say that the product was best used by then, and the main thing was that it probably just wasn’t going to be quite as nice and lovely on your skin or hair after that. But, it kind of depended on what the product was, whether the smell or the texture had changed, and also personal levels of squeamishness. When I said, “I”ll admit, I’m the kind of person who will drink milk that’s past the expiration date if it smells okay,” the guy went, “Oh, not me, I just can’t do that”.
                  I suggested that in that case, since this was a more perishable product, he was probably better safe than sorry, and he thanked me for my time and hung up. He was very polite and everything, but I was a little puzzled that someone who was a self-described germophobe would dither about whether to throw out something that had to be refrigerated and had an expiration date.

              2. Zephy*

                Did you marry a raccoon? Jesus.

                My best friend is pretty similar, though. She ate a bag of donut holes that had been sitting on someone’s desk at work for two days and washed it down with a bottle of Gatorade she found on the front counter (and later realized it had been spiked). I told her, one of these days you’re going to claim an abandoned drink and it’s gonna be full of cigarette butts, and I’m just going to laugh at you.

                1. The New Wanderer*

                  See, I get the donut holes because donuts just go stale after two days, I’m assuming no mold was on them. OTOH, my husband will eat bread from a loaf that has mold on it. Not the moldy part, but the rest of it without visible mold. Not recommended by science, but since he hasn’t actually gotten sick from it he thinks it’s fine.

                  But a random half-empty bottle of anything? NO.

                2. Shad*

                  @New Wanderer
                  Some of that can also be allergy-related—my dad (light hay fever only) sees zero issue with things like tossing the moldy grapes only or finishing the slice after you notice mold on the rest of the bread. And intellectually, I’d agree with him about at least relatively hard foods like grapes, where the mold won’t easily spread without being visible, if I didn’t have allergies that could be triggered by apparently even microscopic levels of mold (I’ve tried and had a mild allergic reaction after eating the grape that wasn’t visibly moldy. This converted me firmly to no mold ever).

                3. FoxyDog*

                  I won’t even drink out of my own previously used water glasses at home. There’s a high probability that the cat drank out of it while I wasn’t looking.

                  (I would have eaten the donut holes though. If I had permission.)

                4. Elizabeth West*

                  The cigarette butt thing happened to someone I knew in college. We TRIED to warn her, but NO.

                  I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. RIP Debbie, we loved you dearly (it wasn’t the butts that did her in).

                5. Scrooge McDunk*

                  Back in my underage drinking years, I woke up after a real rager of a party, miserably hung over, and saw a can of Coke on the coffee table. “Liquid! Thank God!” my dehydrated brain rejoiced. So I grabbed the can, took a big swig, and ended up with a mouthful of cigarette butts and nicotine juice.

                  I’m dry heaving just from the memory.

                6. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  Anyone else here ever pick up *their own* soda can at a picnic and find that a yellowjacket had decided to visit that not-abandoned drink?
                  I didn’t get stung when it happened to me, but my husband did when it happened to him. Lids for the win.

          2. Jennifer*

            Yes, sometimes you have a visceral reaction to something that may not seem “rational” to others. It annoys me when people try to explain to me why it’s not really that gross. *I* think it’s gross. Leave me to be disgusted, lol.

            1. Lissa*

              Hahha yes! I feel that way in both directions – don’t tell someone else that it’s “not that bad” but at the same time, I think calling something “gross” objectively that someone else is doing can make them feel defensive, so I wish people would have a better idea of the difference between “personal reaction” and “actually dangerous”!

          3. RUKiddingMe*

            I won’t share a toothbrush (and several other things…comb, brush, underwear…) and I won’t eat potluck. The potluck thing though is that I have no way to know about an individual’s cleanliness. What’s their kitchen like? Did they use pee plates? Did they go #2 (or #1), pop a pimple…change a diaper…whatever and not wash their hands? That’s not even counting any animal issues. There are just way too many variables to trust food cooked by other people.

            1. Flash Bristow*

              Wow. My kitchen is a bit of a tip day to day but if I’m cooking for other people I ensure my working area, and everything I use (from equipment, to my apron and hands and disposable gloves are clean (or new for the gloves). The last thing I’d want to do is poison someone. I’m *proud* of my food!

              Same goes for not having anything veggie or gluten free etc contaminated. So many people use the same knife to cut batches of differently filled sandwiches…

              …doesn’t everyone do this for a pot luck? Those who can’t cook tend to bring something bought, and those who can have standards… I hope?!

              Although – and I’m not trying to derail, don’t worry, I’ll go Google – I’m not sure how you’re meant to clean the inside of a pasta roller. I saw one being used to roll clay on tv this week which got me wondering. Hmm. If someone hasn’t made a “hygienic thing to pass thru pasta roller before each use” they ought to!

              1. Jen S. 2.0*

                No, everyone doesn’t do that for a pot luck. And it’s often the people with the loosest idea of what’s gross and the lowest standard for what constitutes kitchen cleanliness that want to bring the main dish and have everyone try a piece. **shudder**

                1. RUKiddingMe*

                  Yeah. I just can’t force myself (I’ve tried) to eat other peoples’ food. I think I may have a legit …something… going on. Some sort of MH/anxiety/phobia thing…not just my sarcastic “oh I’m germaphobic” thing, but it doesn’t really interfere with life so I don’t care.

                2. Quickbeam*

                  I can’t eat at a pot luck. They were ruined for me when a co-worker said that people “ just use the old freezer burned food they save just for work events”. I can’t get it out of my head now, thanks Rob.

                3. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  Kitchen counter cleanliness is why my husband was *glad* that he & I both tested highly allergic to cats. We once visited friends who showed off their clever idea to set up the cat-flap in the window over the kitchen sink because it was more secure…. They didn’t seem to care that their cats were regularly brushing past the *clean* dishes on the drying rack going in & out. We still love them to pieces, but if we meet up, we eat OUT.

              2. Meredith*

                Can you throw the pasta roller in the dishwasher? I have a pasta attachment for my kitchenaid, but not a dishwasher, so I don’t know. But I also don’t use mine for anything but pasta.

              3. RUKiddingMe*

                I am so happy that you do this. It’s encouraging that I’m not the only one that cares, but damn I’ve seen some hurl inducing kitchens and unless I *know* someone has standards that I can live with, it’s still a hard pass on their food. Potlucks? Too many different cooks, too many risks IMO.

                I was talking about this with husband the other day and it seems that my whole germ thing, which is not unreasonable really, I only make demands of myself and those who live with me (Husband) and just abstain/take food to be polite and just push it around on a plate (but not a pee plate!) is getting more intense the older I get. I figure eventually I’ll end up working myself into living inside of a sterile bubble. But…I’m ok with that.

              4. Blue_thing*

                I don’t believe there’s a good way to clean the inside of a pasta roller – when I used to work more with polymer clays the instructions for doing rolled clay always suggested having a dedicated pasta maker for the clay.

                I’m probably on the more raccoon side of what I will eat / tolerate (pet dishes get washed in the same sink as the people dishes, kittens have access to the kitchen counter) but then I’m not expecting coworkers or friends to eat food that I’ve cooked in that kitchen unless I’ve properly cleaned surfaces first!

                I would probably wash the pee dishes and try to put “what they had on them” out of my mind, but I have also eaten off of dishes that I know I’ve thawed reptile food on (with a proper wash in between, of course!)

              5. Pandop*

                I don’t use disposable gloves when baking for work ( and have never made anyone sick to my knowledge), but everything else is the same. My kitchen may be cluttered, but it’s clean(ish), and definitely clean before cooking for others.

            2. Mr. Shark*

              See what PollyQ said below, “We live in a world that is covered with germs.”

              I’m of the opinion that ignorance is bliss in these circumstances. For me, you can’t worry too much about things you can’t control, so eating at a buffet–no big deal, especially with food brought in by people from work.

              Eating off a plate you know has been peed on…nope, no ignorance there. The plate gets thrown away.

              1. Lissa*

                Yeah this is me. I also think like with the potluck thing – I don’t get sick from eating at potlucks, so if someone isn’t perfectly clean in their kitchen, what I don’t know won’t hurt me and yay free food. If my stomach was more sensitive or I happened to get ill from that, then I’d be more cautious but even then it’d be a “don’t want to get sick” thing, not “other people are gross” thing.

            3. Jaid*

              Potluck is ok, but pork left out after a pig roast? The dish is covered with tin foil, but when it’s cold and damp and the tin foil is wet…ick.

          4. Elizabeth West*

            Yeah, the dishes can be washed and reused, if your squick level is pretty high. You absolutely CAN get sick from using someone else’s toothbrush, however. In fact, if you’ve been sick, it’s recommended you throw your own toothbrush away and use a new one.

      7. PollyQ*

        I would too, and I wouldn’t even worry about running it through a special “sanitize” cycle. A regular dishwasher cycle would be fine, or hell, even just hot water & dish soap.

        We live in a world that is covered with germs. It’s ridiculous to pretend that we need the kind of sterile atmosphere of an operating room to survive.

        1. Jennifer*

          There’s a middle ground between wanting to live in an operating room and not eating off plates that you know have been peed on. Just saying.

          1. PollyQ*

            I guess I just fundamentally don’t get it. To me, once it’s clean & there’s no health risk (which is not at all difficult to achive), there’s no reason to stop using a perfectly good dish, just because once upon a time it was in a dirty, unsanitary condition.

            1. Flash Bristow*

              Right. We dishwash stuff then put it in the cupboard. Are you telling me your cupboard is clean and sterile? Never gets dust, or an insect, or (perish the thought) the odd rodent? Or do you only use a plate that’s been brought out clean that second, and touch it with freshly washed hands? Maybe every clean plate is vacuum sealed in a bag until use?

              As I said, when cooking for others I pay a huge attention to cleanliness and hygiene, but surely there’s always going to be some element of illusion.

              (I’m now reminded of Nanette Newman very seriously advertising, in a stern voice: “Flash – for the dirt you *can* see, and the *germs* you *cant*.”

            2. RabbitRabbit*

              For me it’s not the health risk concept. It’s more of a violation than anything else. Some asshole thought it was a-ok for him to pour his pee all over my stuff, and it would make me angry to look at it.

          2. RUKiddingMe*

            Exactly. Rationally I understand they’ve been cleaned, but I won’t eat off of them anymore than I’d eat out of a sanitized toilet.

            1. Jadelyn*

              This. Technically, once a toilet has been sanitized, the water from it should be fine – it’s basically tap water until you, erm, contribute to it. Would I dip a cup in and drink it? Ye gods, no. Sure, the gross-out factor is purely psychological, but that doesn’t make it not real.

              1. Sam Sepiol*

                In the centre for life in Newcastle there’s a water fountain in a toilet. A toilet purpose built for the water fountain, and yet there is no way I would ever drink from it.

                1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  I can go one worse. I’ve seen toilet-tank inserts for sale that provide the same function. I have a REALLY high level to meet before I get grossed out, but that surged way way past my comfort zone. Logically I know the drinking water comes from the clean tap before it gets put into the tank for flushing, but emotionally I just don’t care. To me, team “bleach or put it through the pressure cooker” works for the plates — but not for a water fountain in close proximity to a toilet.

              2. RUKiddingMe*

                “Sure, the gross-out factor is purely psychological, but that doesn’t make it not real.”


          1. Slartibartfast*

            Unless he’s on radioiodine therapy for thyroid cancer(in which case he should be in a hospital, because, yeah radioactive pee).

            I could eat off the pee plate if properly sanitized, because I don’t know the parties involved. If I was the plate’s original owner, nope. Because seeing the plate would trigger the memory of what had happened.

      8. Sneaky Ninja for this one*

        I would use the plate once it was washed. Whatever.

        Toothbrush? Hells to the no.
        Earbuds, too. Ick. Not to be shared. Burn them.

      9. DCGirl*

        In the current debate about plastic straws, one line of reasoning is that straws protect you from having to drink from a glass that may not be clean from people who clearly have no issue with drinking the liquid in the allegedly unclean glass.

        1. Fiddlesticks*

          DCGirl, somehow people don’t appreciate that logic, lol! And in that case, we should all request restaurants to use paper plates and plastic utensils, “just in case” the regular plates and utensils aren’t being cleaned properly. And we should bring our pots and pans and spatulas and sieves from home and ask the restaurant to use them instead of their own. Because surely, it’s not just the glasses that are unclean.

          People sure do love their plastic straws and will come up with any twisted reasoning to keep them.

          1. Lora*

            And the only way to clean those re-useable straws properly is with a long brush / pipe cleaner type of thing. Most people I know who fuss about using the re-usable straws throw them in the dishwasher.

            Guys, water flowing across the opening of a pipe (as in perpendicular to it or any way that doesn’t actually involve attaching a nozzle to ensure the water gets in) only gets clean a length about 2X the diameter. So if you have a re-useable steel or silicone/plastic straw that has a diameter of about 1/8″, and you throw it in the dishwasher to clean it, only the 1/4″ of straw closest to each opening is actually getting cleaned. The inside is still vile. Use pipe cleaners or sip from the edge of the cup.

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                I was baffled how to clean my daughter’s sippy cup until I saw her playing with “craft wire”. I grabbed a chenille stick and started using it and remarked to my husband that when I was little we still called them “pipe cleaners” and …hey presto I was cleaning a pipe.
                To this day it amuses me.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  Ha! Excellent improvisation.

                  The ones that come with the straws look like a tiny bottle brush. That’s also a relic of another time; I don’t think very many people wash and sanitize baby bottles by hand anymore.

          2. Saraquill*

            Plastic straws are useful for people with certain medical conditions. If someone’s immunocompromised and can’t lift their head, let alone clean a reusable straw, their sanitation concerns are justified.

              1. EH*

                This! Bendy straws were invented for hospitals. Plenty of disabled folks need them to drink and for various reasons *cannot* use paper/silicone/et al.

        2. Bee*

          Well, to be fair, the part of the glass I’d be most concerned about is the rim, especially the outside bit, which is not where the liquid is. I’m less concerned about someone else’s Coke remnants than someone else’s mouthprint. (Hypothetically, that is; this isn’t a concern I’ve ever actually had unless I could physically see lipstick on the cup.)

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Obviously they’ve never seen a toddler drinking milk through a straw. Bubbles are often involved.

      10. kittymommy*

        I would use it again as well. While I find it completely and utterly disgusting if i know it’s been thoroughly cleaned (by either a dishwasher or by hand) I’m fine. But yeah, I wouldn’t put the dish into a potluck rotation.

      11. Stepinwhite*

        I am with you on that. I have a science degree, so I’m all about the practicalities! It can be cleaned. Think about all the parents with babies out there – gross stuff happens, and things get cleaned.

      12. Ra94*

        Yeah, I’m with you! The ‘grossness’ of the pee doesn’t outweigh the grossness of raw chicken on a plate, or rotten food in a tupperware, or vomit in a bowl for me (thanks, norovirus). All of those things are horrid, but bleach wipes the slate for me mentally.

      13. TootsNYC*

        me too.

        The “this is clean; I washed it really well” just overrides all the other stuff.

        Like you, I respect other people’s reactions. And so I just don’t tell them that the bowl they’re eating out of was used by my cat yesterday.

      14. President of the Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club*

        I’d use it again if a friend or family member or pet peed on it, but I wouldn’t want to be reminded of a creepy weirdo coworker every time I ate off their pee plate.

      15. Ripley*

        The issue with toothbrushes is more than just food debris and spit – you actually can pass blood between people that way, since you are also scrubbing your gums. Yes, you likely have the same sort of thing happen when tongue kissing, but toothbrushes have a lot more contact with blood pathogen, so you are at a higher risk of transmitting blood borne diseases through sharing a toothbrush than kissing.

      16. TardyTardis*

        Same here. Used to be a nurse’s aide, and that often burns out any ability to be grossed out. I won’t recite the stories, because I already used to them to play “Gross Out” with a former ER tech (we emptied the rest of the office in about 10 minutes, and these were military people). But if it’s been hillbilly autoclaved, it’s clean to me.

    2. Asenath*

      Removed a massive 80-comment derail here about pets eating off humans’ plate. Y’all, please stay on topic! – Alison

      1. Asenath*

        Like the library books? Or hotel sheets? Really, I know some people are never going to use the dishes again, but there will always be some people who are more cautious than others, and I don’t see that’s a major problem since there are other options to use to avoid contaminated items. Well, perhaps not for the library books or hotel sheets. I’d actually assumed that the dishes belonged to the individual washing them, who could react according to their personal wishes, but that’s because I’m not used to the idea of an office providing dishes except in the office cafeteria, and there they might well be disposable anyway, so no one would be washing them.

      2. RUKiddingMe*

        With all due respect to your first wife’s cooking abilities, I would have been grossed out by both feeding the dog from the container and it having been on the floor. Ew.

        1. Jennifer*

          You summed it up nicely.

          I dropped a container on the floor and my dog started licking out of it and I thought, “well, that’s yours now.”

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            I think we are kindred spirits Jennifer. If it (whatever “it” is) hits the floor there’s a better than even trash that it’s now the cats’ or trash. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      3. Jennifer*

        Well, I can kind of understand the coworker’s point of view. When you don’t know someone, little details like that paint a picture of what their home might look like. And when she said it was washed after, what did she mean? Rinsing it for a few seconds, running through the dishwasher, hot water and soap? Not saying your house was dirty at all. Just saying that I get the reaction.

        It’s already a gamble eating at office potlucks sometimes. My husband has gotten sick before. I stopped eating at them altogether when a woman I worked with revealed that her cat walks on the kitchen counters while she is cooking. If it’s not a pre-made item from a store or restaurant, I’ll pass.

        1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

          Just because the cat walked on the counter doesn’t mean kitty came near the food. Honestly, people let their children touch the counter and those things are germ magnets.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Doesn’t mean it didn’t. Doesn’t mean she didn’t lay the knife, spoon, spatula, whatever on the counter. Doesn’t mean she didn’t let Kitty have a taste as she was cooking. This is the kind of shit that scares me about eating other peoples’ food. This is completely unacceptable for me and not knowing if someone else would be ok with it…then eating food they made…all the nope.

            1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

              Again, people do nasty things with each other and touch each other’s plates, cups, etc. What do you think will happen? Honestly, germs are everywhere and live everywhere. Should a place be clean? Yes, but clean and sterile aren’t the same. Letting a cat walk on a counter isn’t a big deal as lo as the counter is cleaned before food prep is done on it. I’m amazed people can eat food–if you knew what went on in slaughterhouses and processing plants, you’d realize a cat on the counter is nothing. (Poultry plants are vile.)

              1. RUKiddingMe*

                I think knowing what goes on in slaughterhouses, etc. is the reason I do barely eat. Honestly I eat only enough to not die and then only a very specific, curated diet from sources with which I am familiar and can live with. I am seriously a food coordinator’s nightmare scenario. Fortunately there’s no one that needs deal with my particular *issues* other than me.

                The thing about the counter being cleaned before food prep is done is on point. I agree. Sanitize it after the cat and we’re good to go. The issue to me is that I have no way to know if it was sanitized or if Random Coworker’s “I cleaned it” means nothing more than wiping it off with a soiled dishcloth.

        2. RUKiddingMe*

          One of my cats has recently (last couple days) started jumping ont he counter. Not when I’m cooking or anything, but this is new for him. I think he might be getting senile (he’s juuussssttt about “senior citizen” age. I’m going through Lysol wipes like crazy.

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Because there’s always an exception… my mother used to let the dog clean out the dishes before she rinsed them and ran them through the dishwasher, and she was an extremely fussy 1950s-style housewife. To illustrate, she had a WHITE wall-to-wall carpet that stayed white despite the dog.
          Annnd now I miss my mom.

      4. Jennifer*

        I feel like I’m in bizarro land. I don’t even consider myself a neat freak. I’m pretty unorganized and a bit of a mess, but my animal has a different set of dishes than I do. I was today years old when I realized that was revolutionary. Now I understand more than ever why I don’t eat at office potlucks.

        1. Just Jess*

          I’m not a neat freak but am probably cleaner than most people. It bothers me that someone would decide to serve people from these types of dishes (pee plates included) just because they don’t personally have a problem with it. I get that it’s technically clean, but there’s a respect and consent aspect to it.

          1. Jadelyn*

            Genuinely asking this, not trying to be rude – do you feel that in order to avoid invoking that “respect and consent aspect”, everyone needs to calibrate their cooking sanitization practices to the level of the most stringent person involved?

            Like, if someone feels that a standard part of washing dishes is soaking them in a bleach solution before rinsing and drying them, is it a “respect and consent” issue for others to just wash their dishes normally before preparing communal food?

            If not, where is the line drawn? Who gets to decide what the “acceptable minimum” level of culinary practice is in order to avoid it being a “respect and consent” issue?

            1. Jennifer*

              I mean, I thought a basic standard was that animals eat out of separate containers from humans. That’s not the same as asking people to bleach everything. I think that’s a bit of a false equivalency.

              1. Amtelope*

                I don’t think that’s a “basic standard,” and neither do many other people, though? If my dishwasher gets a fork licked by another human clean, it gets a bowl my cat ate out of clean. “Pets eating from a dish forever contaminates the dish” isn’t a universal rule, it’s your preference.

              2. Jennifer*

                @Antelope There may be some cultural differences at play here then. That’s the only explanation to me because this seems outrageous. I don’t think that’s a preference any more than not wanting to eat off peed-on plates is. My jaw is on the floor.

              3. Jadelyn*

                Judging by the collective opinions in the thread, keeping animal and human containers completely and entirely permanently separate, regardless of how well one washes containers between species, is not at all a “basic standard”. If I’ve learned nothing else from spending time in spaces like this, I’ve learned that there are far, far fewer things that are considered any sort of “universal standard” than we think there are.

                One person’s “basic standard” is someone else’s “weird and unnecessary”. And I have in fact known people who felt it was a basic standard of dishwashing to involve a bleach rinse. I don’t think it’s a false equivalency at all.

              4. Jennifer*

                @Jadelyn I don’t know if we could judge that just by reading the comments here, but again there may be some cultural differences at play. Mentally turning down dinner invitations…

              5. Amtelope*

                I’m … really floored by the idea that every dish licked by an animal is somehow unfit for human use even after being washed. This isn’t a rule that other people should somehow know is universally true. You get to want what you want, but I know more people with pets who sometimes feed them using regular dishes than people who don’t.

              6. Close Bracket*

                “I don’t think that’s a preference any more than not wanting to eat off peed-on plates is.”

                See, if we’re going with false equivalencies, I don’t find animal food or spit to be equivalent to pee. Animal food is safe to eat for humans. Unpalatable, probably not sufficiently nutritional, but safe. It contains the same ingredients that people food does. So who cares if it goes in people food dishes?

                You aren’t supposed to kiss your animals on the mouth bc animal germs are incompatible with people germs, so I could see how you wouldn’t lick the plate right after your animal did. I don’t eat or drink from the same vessel as my animal, which some people do, but I don’t care if my animal ate off my plate in the past. I also clean out that gross Tupperware with the science experiments from the back of the fridge and reuse it. That’s what soap is for. It kills germs. If it was standard to run the toothbrush through the dishwasher after using it, I might be ok with sharing them.

              7. Lissa*

                Yeah I’m not even an animal person and this is brand new to me that they absolutely need to be separate! I also think this is part of the problem – people do get really judgy in both directions when someone was raised with a different standard, and it’s hard not to get defensive when someone else is like “well I’d never eat YOUR food” based on a standard you didn’t even know existed. I mean people can of course have the standards they like, but I think assuming it’s the other person who’s weird or bad isn’t very fair either.

              8. RUKiddingMe*

                Yup animals do not use human utensils, plates, containers, etc. and you don’t serve something off of a plate/container/whatever that someone peed in. Pretty low bar IMO.

              9. RUKiddingMe*

                @ Amtelope

                Husband licking the spoon clean and spoon getting washed is different from Cat/Dog doing likewise because husband doesn’t lick his own ass…for starters.

              10. Lissa*

                I don’t have a problem with people feeling that way, it makes total sense! But unless there’s evidence it actually makes people sick, I don’t think it can be expected as a general standard to the point where you’re disapproving at people who do it otherwise. (and I don’t have pets so this isn’t a personal issue for me at all)

              11. NewNameTemporarily*

                No. I was raised by an OCD mom, and keep a pretty clean house, but I do not run a separate set of all the dishes for pet. Water bowl, yes. Food bowl, no. (had to go to small ramikins because floppy ears got into the wet food.). The dishwasher is adequate.

                On the other hand, one of my mixing bowls was never allowed back in the house after it was used to soak parts in the garage. Food is food. Chemicals … nope.

              12. C Baker*

                And I think your basic standard is a bit ridiculous. Lots of things we think are common sense and every day aren’t. Unless we conduct a national poll, we’ll never know which of us has the more common viewpoint.

              13. Seeking Second Childhood*

                @NewNameTemporarily : RAMIKINS ARE BRILLIANT! Thank you for that idea…my next dog thanks you too. I grew up with cocker spaniels and, well, ear cleaning was MY chore as a kid.

            2. Jennifer*

              Like I said, it’s likely a cultural difference. Most people I know would be horrified to learn they were using the same dishes as the family pet. I’ve always had a designated food and water bowl for my pet. It’s strange to me to just grab a plate out of the cabinet and feed your dog from it.

              1. Close Bracket*

                I’m not buying the culture thing. I’m a middle class white American who feeds her cat off the same set of plates that she uses herself and stores the half empty cans of cat food in the fridge. My middle class white American neighbor won’t even wash her designated cat bowls in the same side of the sink as her designated people bowls and refuses to put half empty cans of cat food in her fridge. Same culture, totally different approaches to cat food and bowls.

              2. Jennifer*

                @Close Bracket I don’t think all white people eat out of the same bowls as their cats, but the only people I know of that do it are white people. I don’t know any black people that do. I was trying not to mention race because I don’t want to generalize too much, but that’s just based on my personal experience.

              3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

                I don’t understand the horror. Do people understand what other humans put in their hands and mouths and they eat off the same dishes? Many germs are very species specific–it’s easier to catch something from a human than it is from a cat or dog. My dog licks my face sometimes and so do my cats. Skin washes.

              4. Michaela*

                That’s not what happens – it’s more like maybe getting to lick the bowl after I’m done. Or if I cut the crusts off my sandwich, I might put the whole plate down for him with the crusts.

              5. RUKiddingMe*

                Jennifer You are not alone in your observations. I’m Roma but pasty white (and well technically caucasian I guess) and raised in “standard issue” white middle class type of culture and the only people I’ve ever known to do that are white people.

              6. C Baker*

                Have you *asked* most people you know, or are you just assuming because that is what *you* would feel?

              7. EH*

                Wow, I am the opposite – I have literally never heard of this idea that a pet eating off a dish makes it somehow gross forever. I grew up with cats and dogs, my extended family owns dogs, many of my friends have cats, etc.

            3. Just Jess*

              Just getting back to Jadelyn’s initial question – I think the consent part was overlooked in the follow up replies. “My dog is my first rinse for my dishes” or “my cat owns my kitchen countertops” are good statements to make upfront if you’re serving someone.

              The more I think about it and read the comments on this thread, the more I realize that I don’t know what’s going on in other people’s kitchens. I apologize if anyone felt judged. You do your own thing in the kitchen and you have no obligation to explain the origin of that lovely potluck casserole.

      5. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        @RU kidding me–ah, plenty of humans lick lots of things like a dog licking their butt. Again, if a plate is licked by human or by a dog and then washed in the same dishwasher, what’s the difference? There will be no more germs on the animal than the human one. And you’ll catch more germs from the people than the pet.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          It’s just …not right. Understand that I’m not judging what other people choose to do. This is all about me and the standard with which I am personally comfortable.

          For me humans and pets do not ever share plates, bowls, utensils, etc. and all such things are washed separately with separate brushes and sponges. Oh and pet dishes do not get washed in the kitchen sink (I have a large tub/sink in the laundry room) or go in my dishwasher where human plates and stuff go. I also use a bleach soak before the final rinse of pet stuff, a bleach rinse with the dishwasher, and wear gloves for handling all pet related stuff.

          I do know this is more than the average person does. I know it’s an extreme way to do things. It’s not limited to just food stuff. I am pretty OCD about this kind of stuff in general. I don’t impose it on others though so the only one that does the work or uses up what would otherwise be free time…is me.

          I know it’s probably a *thing* but I’m ok with that. On the plus side you could probably literally safely eat off of my floors. Except that the whole idea of that is icky and having just typed that out I feel a need to go wash.

      1. fposte*

        And it’s turning into guidance for pet urine samples and post-hysterectomy care! I guess we’re making lemonade out of…making lemonade.

        1. Tiny Soprano*

          Speaking of lemonade, I think they should gift the pee plates to boss along with a dwarf lemon tree to put on them and keep in his office. Because lemon trees don’t mind a bit of pee. And then he has to explain to people why he has a lemon tree in his office.

      2. RUKiddingMe*

        This us why I don’t care if they start costing $10 each you will pry my (compostable) paper plates from my cold dead fingers.

    3. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

      Hmmm, well, I would use the plate if it was washed. There is no logical reason not to use it, since it can be easily cleaned. Urine is not inherently dangerous, and I don’t worry about germs much. Having two cats that rule my house and own the kitchen counters, how could I worry too much about such things? Every flat surface of my house is probably covered with at least traces of cat pee and poo. *shrug* If someone had crapped on the plate, and I was aware of that, I might have some psychological hesitation. LOL.

    4. askacleanperson fan*

      I love ask a clean person the podcast but I almost threw up while listening this morning. OMG.

  3. Nobody Here by That Name*

    Once again I commend AAM for having a site which never judges anyone’s personal lives provided everything is safe, sane, and consensual. :)

    1. Nobby Nobbs*

      The advice about cleaning establishes that the boss’s behavior is one of those things…

      1. IsabelleBunny*

        This so much!!! As I was reading I thought “well unless they want it” and the next word was consensual.
        So happy to see that!

        1. Ama*

          Jolie has had several podcast episodes that cover cleaning up after many kinds of consensual messes. They’re really interesting!

  4. Seifer*

    You know what, this is better than an update. ‘THIS IS BOB’S PLATE. THAT HE PEED ON.” LW, I hope you’re taking notes!

  5. Meredith*

    This was great, but I’m REALLY hoping for an update from the OP at some point. I’m hoping for torches and pitchforks, myself.

  6. Close Bracket*

    With that said, technically speaking, yes you can clean those dishes … But you will know what happened to them, and unfortunately there is no safe way to bleach a brain.

    I once used my very nice, Williams-Sonoma strainer to strain my cat’s urine sample thinking, “It’s stainless steel! Which is non-absorbant! I can bleach it!” Nope. That strainer is now the designated cat pee strainer (the cat no longer needs regular urinalysis, thanks for asking).

    1. Sharrbe*

      Ok I have questions. Why do you need to strain its urine? Whats in it that needs to be strained? And, how do you get your cat to pee over a strainer? Is there something below the strainer? I’m not at all asking judgmentally, inquiring minds just want to know – my cats would flip out if I ever tried this :)

      1. Close Bracket*

        To collect a urine sample from a cat at home, your vet will sell you a kit with a giant plastic bag to use as a liner over the litter box and some plastic pellets that simulate litter to put on top of the liner. Then you wait for kitty to use the box and collect the sample when she is done (trying not to think about that fact that she probably got urine on her paws and is now running through the house). In retrospect, I could have let the vet strain the pellets out.

        1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

          A very wise friend when I was young told me that to have furry friends is to accept that they may occasionally get a bit of stuff on their paws.

          1. Close Bracket*

            That’s why she’s not allowed on the table. My mother used to call her “Fecal Feet.”

            1. Nanc*

              If ever I were to get a cat I would name her Fecal Feet and call her Fifi for short.
              Your mom is awesome!
              Connection to topic: Boss is gross and I suppose OP is lucky he doesn’t just stand at the sink and pee . . .

          2. Burned Out Supervisor*

            Word. Last year we got two kittens after my very well mannered cat passed, and these tow chuckleheads were constantly stepping in their own poop when they would try and cover it. Then they would run all over the house with their poopy paws driving me insane. I would start to wait for them outside of the litter room to catch them and check their feet. This became a wonderful game of “make mom chase after me with a wet rag.” Ugh.

      2. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

        I’m guessing that the cat may have been experiencing problems with urine crystals (in the same family as kidney stones), and they were using a special non clumping litter while changing diet or medication to try and treat the problem. When that is going on you have to strain the urine to see if the crystals are still being formed and passed or not.

        1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

          On closer read Close Bracket didn’t say and I just used my dad’s experience with one of their kitties.
          And my dad found that keeping our tables and counters cat free was a pain until he tried a mix of bubble wrap and double sided tape. The popping sound would spook the first cat; and while the second didn’t mind the noise she detested the sticky feeling of the tape on her paws.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            When I lived with cats, sheets of loose aluminum foil would keep them off the counters.
            A friend has a very inquisitive kitten and has resorted to a motion-detector-driven gadget that hisses when something gets too close. Apparently the compressed air is pricey but it works wonders. (I can attest to it making ME jump a mile when I first encountered it.)

    2. hayling*

      Oh man, that’s a lot easier than getting a urine sample from a dog…which I need to do again this weekend. Ugh.

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        My mother uses a measuring cup (the kind for dry measures rather than the pitcher-kind) for this task (female dog, which makes this easier). I really, really wish she’d dedicate one to that particular use, but it’s just one of the regular set of measuring cups. It’s convenient because it’s a cup with a handle, which is certainly easier than a cup without a handle.

        If you would like a dedicated measuring cup to as a dog pee collection device, the dollar store sells measuring cups.

        1. EmKay*

          Ugh. Gift her a new set of measuring cups, and mark the old ones as dog pee measuring cups.

      2. My Brain Is Exploding*

        I’ve done this a lot. Get an aluminum pie plate, attach some sort of handle to it (like a doubled up wire coat hanger). Grab your collection container (the one you use to transport the urine you the vet). Put the dog on a leash. When the dog starts to pee, get the pie tin under the stream. Then transfer to the other container. The pie tin is big enough that you can get pee in it if you are off center, and shallow enough to get under a female dog that squats low. (You may be able to do this without a handle on the pie tin.)

      3. Slartibartfast*

        A soup ladle is perfect for canine collection :) Bonus if it has a little spout on the side.

    3. Edith*

      My dog brought me a rabbit he had killed (“Look mama, I brought you a present!” his face and wagging tail seemed to say.). I used a pair of tongs to put the rabbit in a bag to throw away, and then I left the tongs in the dishwasher for a couple of months before putting it back in use. It must have gone through several dozen dishwasher cycles.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I used to pick up Pig’s dead birds with my hand, but I’d put it in two layers of plastic bags first and then turn it inside out so I never touched the bird. Kind of like picking up dog poo.

        1. EmKay*

          My orange cat Jacques brought me a dead bluebird once. He was so proud. And I hear that bluebirds are mean, so his pride was justified. I praised him, scritched his ears, fetched my rubber dish gloves, double bagged the birb and put it in the trash, along with my dish gloves. Put “new dish gloves” on the shopping list.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            If you’re in the US, I’ll hope it was a bluejay — they’re blue&white&black and mean. Bluebirds (blue with a red belly and a touch of white) are evolving to be more aggressive in response to English sparrows* which take over their nests and kill the chicks…

            *”English sparrow” is the US’s common name for the UK’s “House finch”. Someone intentionally introduced them in the late 1800s and in someplaces they’re a real pest. Although they’re the only creature I’ve ever seen eating gypsy moth caterpillars so they earn their keep.

    1. MusicWithRocksInIt*

      It might never go away. I’m still haunted by a Captain Awkward letter from YEARS ago about a girl who’s boyfriend wouldn’t ever leave the bathroom and she had nowhere to pee. I hope she’s ok out there…

      1. Quiznakit*

        I went back to that letter the other day and there was an update at the bottom that says the letter writer did break up with the guy and is doing well.

      2. Amber Rose*

        I remember that letter. Poor girl was peeing in the sink occasionally. I still think about her too, sometimes, and hope she got the eff outta there.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          Wait, what? Like, he physically would not leave the bathroom? Is it bad I’m more concerned about how she was pooping over how she was peeing?

          I have so many questions.

          1. Close Bracket*

            He would spend hours in there. Poo never came up in the letter, IIRC. But he camped out so long that at least once she had to use the sink and many times she was to the point of pain.

            As a younger woman, I might have been Team Relationships Take Compromise. As a middle aged woman, I am Team DTMFA.

  7. CC*

    “And peeing in the shower, i.e. into a similar drainage system, is okay to do.”

    Um, when was this decided?

    1. bookartist*

      I have a feeling this is an unspoken front in the Bathroom Wars, on par with hanging the TP roll the wrong way and not recapping the toothpaste. Personal styles and tastes vary, and I’m on the side of saying pee in the shower doesn’t make the stall / tub unclean the same way pee in the sink makes the dishes unfit for food ever again. After all, the commentariat seems to agree the sink itself can be made clean enough to use again.

      1. Vicky Austin*

        My ex-roommates and I had an ongoing battle about this. I was firmly in the camp of Peeing In The Shower Is Not Okay, That’s What The Toilet Is For. They saw nothing wrong with peeing in the shower, and refused to stop even after I asked them to and told them it was disgusting. I wore flip-flops in the shower for the remainder of the time I lived with them.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          How did you know they were peeing?! Did the shower just not reach it and you could smell or see traces?!

          I’m a heathen who can’t wrap my mind around the idea of “I get in the shower and it triggers my urge, I’m not going to hold it and hurt my bladder or get out of the shower and make a mess of the toilet seat, so it is what it is.”

          However, I also rinse the shower every time I leave it. Because it’s easy. You just aim the head and swirl it around a bit, sprints some shower cleaner in there and repeat. So if you could “tell” I peed or didn’t any given time, I’d think you were a wizard. I mean it’s not like I do it every time because why?! It’s just a “if it happens, it happens.”

        2. The RO-Cat*

          Science says it’s good for the environment. The shower water will be used anyway, why add another 6-8 liters (~1.5 to 2 gallons – I think)? I’ve read an article about that, can’t remember right now which one.

            1. Free Meerkats*

              That’s the water consumed to flush it down the toilet (assuming you don’t subscribe to “let yellow mellow.”) And if you’re the type who won’t pee in the shower, I can’t imagine you’d let a peed in toilet remain unflushed.

        3. NothingIsLittle*

          Peeing in the shower is only okay if everyone using that shower thinks it’s okay, and I’m team Peeing In the Shower! Granted, I also spray bleach cleaner on the shower every time I use it… Ugh, so sorry you had to deal with that. It’s horrible to think what must have happened for you to even know it was going on.

          1. So so anon*

            I think it’s gross. If everyone who uses a communal bathroom is fine with peeing in the shower, great, but otherwise, just no. Maybe it’s because I’m currently in an apartment where the tub’s drainage system backs up regularly, but I just cringe at the notion.

        4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          When I helped one of my sons move into the dorm for his second year of college, I bought two bath mats, and put one in front of the toilet, and the other in front of the shower stall. When I was helping him pack and move out nine months later, I had to throw out both bath mats, because his roommate had peed all over both so many times, they smelled terribly. I can somewhat see how it happened to the one near the toilet, but still have no rational explanation for the shower-stall one. Maybe he was somehow trying to pee in the shower, but with the door open? Who knows!

        5. MCMonkeyBean*

          I am pro peeing in the shower, but if you share the shower with others then I do think it’s rude to do so if they are not okay with it. I definitely didn’t in college. And I wouldn’t in like a gym locker room. But now at home I only share my shower with my husband and he doesn’t care so it’s fair game.

    2. pixie*

      I’ve read that sometimes after giving birth, it can be easier for postpartum ladies to pee in the shower and immediately rinse rather than wiping, which can be painful?

        1. Red Sky*

          Oh no, I’m scheduled for a hysterectomy on the 25th! I’ve heard nothing yet about difficulty peeing after!

          1. GibbsRule18*

            I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy and indeed, initially, there were problems peeing. Like they wouldn’t let me check out until I peed. Most important tip-lean forward while you are peeing on the toilet!!! It got back to normal pretty fast though. Now, if you are having the other kind of hysterectomy, you mileage may vary.

            1. Red Sky*

              Thank you! It is laparoscopic, fortunately. I have a tilted uterus that is, according to my urologist, kinda draped over my bladder, so now I’m wondering if that will be an issue. Will be sure to ask my doctor at my pre-op appt next week.

          2. Jaid*

            I was on the table for 11 hours because of surprise!endometriosis. My lady part was dry as tissue paper after and well. Pee is acidic.

            Gibbs has it right, but I’m wondering if there’s any lube you can schmear around before you pee so it doesn’t hurt…

      1. Catsaber*

        The OB usually recommends that, in addition to using the “peri bottle” or something to squirt water on yourself after using the bathroom. They also tell you not to wipe for many days – gentle pats only – because that motion can be terrible for your stitches/healing.

        1. MusicWithRocksInIt*

          They gave me one of those peri bottles after my c-section and I was so confused. This answers some things.

          1. Artemesia*

            Back in the day you got a plastic sitz bath that fitted into the toilet so you could literally soak your stitches a couple of times a day or after using the toilet. It really kept things clean and sped up healing without hurting the stitch area which is bruised as well as stitched.

            1. Lora*

              They don’t still do this? I remember attempting to bathe the cat in the one they gave my mother…

          2. Flash Bristow*

            Never heard of one so I googled peri bottle and came up with some hot sauce intended for chicken. Definitely dont put that on yourself while healing…!

        2. TootsNYC*

          I love peri bottles! They are frequently useful (helping a kid learn to pee on his own command; when there is irritated skin; when things are a little messy). So much so that when the one I had from childbirth vanished for some reason, I bought new ones.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t know if I could do it even then. I can’t make myself do it. I have to get out and use the toilet or hold it.

    3. Kaitlyn*

      Oh, peeing in the shower? It was decreed Fine, Jeez, by the treaty of It’s My house, dated 2005.

    4. That Would be a Good Band Name*

      I’m still confused how anyone knows that anyone else is doing this. Who is leaving the shower and announcing they just had a refreshing pee along with their shower?!?

      1. nnn*

        This is actually an excellent place to draw the line: no one should ever under any circumstances have any reason to suspect that you’ve been peeing in the shower (or anywhere else that isn’t the toilet).

        How you go about achieving this is up to you.

        1. Psyche*

          Yep. If someone coming in after you can tell, you need to stop peeing in the shower. And if they can’t tell, there is no issue because even if your housemates object they won’t know.

          1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

            Or you need to start cleaning the shower after you use it already, because if someone can tell that I’m guessing those aren’t the only traces being left behind.

        1. Risha*

          If the shower is running and has anything like normal pressure, any splashback should disappear immediately? Like, if it was something I wanted to do on purpose, I don’t even know how I would go about peeing in a running shower and NOT have it all get washed down the drain immediately. Maybe if you tilted the showerhead to point directly down, had it turned down to the lowest possible flow that didn’t qualify as a drip, and stood way in the back? Or if you have one of those room sized showers with multiple heads. Or, I suppose, if you have a penis and aimed it at the back wall?

      2. Robin Sparkles*

        Right?! In all honesty – if I do not know you peed in the shower-what does it matter? And frankly- I bet far more people pee in the shower than not… just no one wants to admit it! After giving birth, if I had to pee after I was in the shower I made the decision that it was easier to just pee than step outside -hold it in while soaking wet -possibly dry off-then sit on toilet or make the entire bathroom and toilet soaking wet and dry it later-creating more work for me.

      3. Autumnheart*

        No kidding, and what difference does it make anyway? They’re also presumably washing their buttcrack and peebits in the shower too, blowing their nose, shaving their legs, shedding hair and skin. That’s why you clean the shower! I get that someone doesn’t want to put their feet in someone else’s pee, and I should hope that any shower-pee-ers are being conscientious about at least destroying the evidence, but to me this is on par with complaining about people pooping in an office bathroom. It’s the bathroom and this is where these things happen.

        1. Matilda Jefferies*

          This is where I land as well. We clean ourselves in the shower when we menstruate, after sex, and I assume most people who need to sneeze or cough when they’re in the shower will do so without getting out/ washing their hands/ getting back in. We clean lots of bodily fluids in the shower already, and I just don’t see urine as being any more gross than any of the others.

      4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I dated a guy where I figured out that he was doing it in my home. Every single time after he used my shower and I’d go in after him, the shower and the bathroom smelled funny, but I couldn’t quite place the smell. Until one day I did place it! Went to ask him about it, but how do you confront an older man, college professor, department chair, etc, about peeing in the shower? I walked into the room, he was reading the latest issue of the NYT on his iPad. I said “can I ask you an odd question? Have you ever, at any point, in your life, peed in the shower?” and he looked up from the NYT and said, “never, why?” and just like that, my shower never smelled funny again after he used it.

        This incident placed me firmly in the Don’t Pee In My Shower camp, until I found out that my sons had been doing it too, and I never smelled that. What I think happened was, the shower that the BF and I were using had a very fine mesh drain strainer that clogged easily. So the BF would pee into a clump of soap suds and hair, and go on happily about his day.

        1. C Baker*

          So the bigger issue here is that he was letting the drain catch get clogged and not cleaning it himself. YOU clog the strainer, YOU clean it after your shower.

      5. RUKiddingMe*

        Guys who have a need to prove something? Maybe they think it makes them manly or something… I’m not really even joking. I’m really amazed sometimes at the things they will announce, that are no one else’s business really, and that no one wants to know, and that they think (wrongly are some kind of accomplishment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    5. Orchestral Musician*

      I was just coming in here to say the same! I mean…in most bathrooms, the toilet is literally right next to the shower, so why not just get out and pee in the place it was meant to be?

      1. CheeryO*

        Why not save the water and pee in the shower? It all gets rinsed down the drain anyway, and if your pee is so putrid that it leaves an odor or stain, you have bigger problems.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Then the toilet is all wet? And then you have to turn off the shower to do so because otherwise you’re wasting the hot water. It’s faster to just relieve yourself in the shower if the urge happens.

        Granted I do think you should try peeing prior to entering but bladders do what they want a lot of times.

      3. Jadelyn*

        Because then I have to at least partly dry myself off or drip everywhere all over my bathroom floor, and if I dry myself off then my towel is damp so when I’m actually done with my shower I’m drying myself off with a pre-dampened towel. Also, once I’m naked and wet, it’s cold getting back out of the shower, so why would I turn off my shower, dry myself off, go pee while shivering, and then come back, turn on the shower, get back in and resume, knowing a damp towel is waiting for me when I’m done? Wayyyy too much hassle when I can just take care of things where I am and rinse the shower down after anyway.

      4. C Baker*

        On a related note, putting the shower and the toilet in the same room is a stupid thing to do and I wish all American houses were built with them in separate rooms. This way, when I’m taking a shower, I wouldn’t need to worry about somebody else in my family bursting in with their own emergency potty needs.

        1. EmKay*

          YES omg thank you. At first I was baffled by the toilet not being in the bathroom when I visited a friend in France, but then I needed to use it while her mother was in the shower, and I thought “you know what, this is great”. There wasn’t a fan in the water closet though, and that I thought was a shame.

    6. AnonForPee*

      I have never seen anything gross about peeing in the shower while I’m showering- it gets rinsed down the drain and the soap and stuff rinses down after it? Plus I clean my shower regularly so I’m sure it’s fine.
      But I had a roommate who thought it was gross and once she said that I just…never told her that I do it.

      1. TootsNYC*


        I mean, I washed off all kinds of squicky stuff in the shower, and so did she. So I just made sure to rinse well, and never mentioned it.

        I do sometimes get out, but also…

    7. Cruciatus*

      Anyone else a TMBG fan? Instead of “Sleeping in the Flowers” my brain has changed the lyrics to “Peeing in the shower, we could pee all afternoon…” after reading that phrase so many times!

    8. jamberoo*

      Because you’re relieving into a giant porcelain oblong that is designed to direct all liquid down the drain, and you’re doing it while using cleaning agents to cleanse yourself, and — perhaps not deliberately — the oblong you’re standing in, to a small degree?

    9. Flash Bristow*

      Yeah that was my thought too. No, it isn’t ok to do! Especially as I need assistance to wash, I can just imagine my PA’s face if I asked her to step back so I could pee (yet she has helped me to the toilet). It’s only ok if everyone who uses that shower knows and agrees.

    10. I don't care that the pipes go the same place, not cool.*

      I know someone whose ex pooped in the shower. Probably one of the multitude of reasons he’s an ex.

      1. Matilda Jefferies*

        I also know someone whose ex pooped in the shower! She calls him SP (Shower Pooper) for short when she’s talking about him online.

    11. MissDisplaced*

      I think one should pee in the toilet FIRST before entering the shower. However, a little pee in shower doesn’t really harm.

        1. Close Bracket*

          Which is consistent with using the toilet (which is another subject of heated debate over grossness).

    12. Gumby*

      I’m pretty firmly in the no camp on this one. Thankfully I do not share my shower with anyone else so – yay!

      I didn’t even know this was a thing until one of my favorite college a Capella groups wrote a song – “Everybody Pees in the Shower” – and even then I still thought they were being humorous/provocative rather than serious.

    13. ImJustHereForThePoetry*

      Actually how it works is:
      – if I pee in the shower it’s fine
      – if someone else pees in the shower, it’s gross

  8. The Prince and the Pee*

    I long ago had a boss and she being a seasoned gambler (part of what is known as the book club) she would not use the restroom, she peed in her chair. We had to warn the IT people who came in so they wouldn’t sit in it. For those who wonder, the “book club” is gamblers at the one armed bandits who sit and pull the lever until they win. They don’t leave the seat for however long/whatever that takes. Peed seat and all.

    1. Stephanie*

      This is just horrifying. She peed in her office chair, ON PURPOSE???
      I do not understand.

    2. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

      Hold on, I’m having a hard time fathoming this.

      So she took a convention (apparently??) from something that was not related to work, and applied it to work? Was she gambling at work and couldn’t leave her seat or was she just working and didn’t feel like moving?

      Also – and I’m hesitant to ask this – didn’t it get on her work clothes?

    3. That Would be a Good Band Name*

      I had a boss who never left her office for 10+ hour shifts. We frequently wondered how she could go without bathroom breaks and now I’m fearing I’ve stumbled onto the answer.

      1. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

        I can do 10 hours without a bathroom break. No chair-peeing involved. Some people are just wired that way.

        1. Amber Rose*

          Yeah, I can hold it almost indefinitely. I’ve definitely made it from 7am (around when I leave for work) until just before bed around 9pm before.

        2. Wendy Darling*

          I’ve apparently been able to do this my entire life.

          I don’t know if I developed the skill as a result of my hatred of mildly yucky public restrooms, or if I hate public restrooms because I’ve virtually never HAD to use them and therefore was not forced to overcome my distaste. Either way if I don’t like the facilities available I will just wait.

        3. Bee*

          I’m not sure about 10 hours, but I can definitely do the length of a trans-Atlantic flight, and I am very grateful for this ability.

        4. Flash Bristow*

          Yep. Being disabled, before I got a stairlift, I’d wake, get up, pee (in the bathroom obv!), go downstairs, work all day, go up to bed, pee, bed.

          Mostly this worked. The issue is I could therefore hold a lot. So when I did go it was over a half litre. I made the mistake of using one of those gel packs once, that claims they can be used up to three times. They can – if you have an incontinent dribble. I started going… and it overflowed.

          Also I’ve been told it’s bad for your bladder to be stretched to be that full, but *shrug* I havent exploded yet…

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            And I, with no medical issues making it so, have to go like every couple hours regardless how much I do/don’t drink. It’s been that way since I was a kid. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    4. Veryanon*

      Oh holy Moses. That is disgusting. Couldn’t she at least get some Depends or something?

    5. Psyche*

      I feel like you officially have a gambling problem when you spend so much time gambling AT WORK that you pee in your chair.

      1. Autumnheart*

        I would expand that to say that any activity that causes one to consciously override their potty training has officially reached the point of A Problem(tm).

    6. Jaid*

      I’ve had a boss that had a medical condition and everyone knew not to use her chair. She gets a pass though, biology sucks for some people.

      1. Artemesia*

        If you have a medical condition like that, then you wear one of the many products designed to manage this situation. No excuse for repeated fails here.

        1. Jaid*

          This was back in the 90’s when access to said products were limited or didn’t exist.

    7. Justme, The OG*

      She peed on her chair and then continued to use it, thus sitting in her pee on a daily basis?

    8. MusicWithRocksInIt*

      Welp – I was today years old when I decided to never sit in a chair in a casino again. I never really like being there anyway.

      How do casino’s even deal with this? Do they send someone around to test the seats? Smell them? Who’s job is that? If they don’t clean them sometime the stench would be unholy.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Right??!?! The handful of times I’ve been at a casino, I have always played the penny slots and now… well, I won’t!

      2. JKP*

        Don’t sit next to a tented machine at a casino either. They have special tents that they use when someone dies at the slots to cover the body until the coroner gets there to remove it. According to a friend who worked at a big casino, this happened 2-3 times a month.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Wow, the things I learned here today. Thank you! (and thanks the powers that be that I am no longer married to the guy who loves to gamble!)

          1. Jen S. 2.0*

            This. There is SO MUCH HAPPENING in this comment thread. I have learned a LOT.

            Most of which I never wanted to know.

    1. Nobby Nobbs*

      Mostly, there are people who try to logic other people out of being grossed out by human waste by claiming it’s sterile.

    2. Urdnot Bakara*

      Just urine, I think, and yep, this is something I remember being told (specifically by a substitute teacher when she was telling us a story about [WARNING: GROSS] how her toddler drank pee out of his training potty; to sum up, she took him to the doctor, and the doctor said he would be fine). I think the thinking here is that urine has been filtered by your kidneys, and like…. yes, but it’s still not sterile! And even if it was, it still touches your genitals as it leaves your body!

      1. Kaitlyn*

        Pee is made up stuff bodies do not want! You can ingest it, but it’s not going to be, like, a spa treatment!

        1. Birch*

          This–yes it’s filtered, as in, the stuff the body *doesn’t* want is sent out via pee. The filtering goes the other way!

          1. Artemesia*

            Most of us haven’t drunk it since we were floating in it inside our amniotic sac.

            But the toddler drinking his own pee? Well the germs came from his own body; not going to panic about that.

      2. irene adler*

        Hey, there’s folks who drink their own urine on a regular basis-like daily.

        (no, I ain’t one of them!)

        I know, TMI!!!!

        1. Close Bracket*

          It’s the folks who drink other people’s urine that you have to watch out for.

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          This sounds like an episode of “My Strange Addiction: I drink My Piss” *sobs*

          1. ScienceTeacherHS*

            I’m pretty sure I actually DID see drinking urine on an episode of My Strange Addiction.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              I can’t watch it. But I’m not surprised. I’ve seen commercials or mentions of them talking about eating things like hair and cotton balls etc.

              That and Hoarders, it’s too much. Awful crimes, I can stomach for the most part and the psychology is thrilling. Having a romantic relationship with your washer and being jealous of your dryer for being able to stay there next to it all day every day, nope that hurts my heart and I need to go.

            2. Environmental Compliance*

              It was 100% a thing on there. I believe she also bathed in it and used it as perfume.

        3. Aquarion*

          Lots of people doing it, and not dying right there, is not evidence of it being a good idea. See also [REDACTED]

    3. Amber Rose*

      Sure. The idea that human urine is sterile is a myth that’s been spread for at least as long as I’ve been alive, and probably as long as my parents have been around as well. It’s an old story that if you’re lost in the desert you can drink your pee because it’s clean… It seems fairly recent that we have discovered this isn’t true.

      1. Jennifer*

        On You vs. Wild on Netflix Bear Grylls used it to cool off when he was in the desert. He peed on a shirt and wrapped his head with it. Bless his heart.

          1. Flash Bristow*

            If I was one, I’d know how to adapt plastic bags or bottles (available on any deserted beach, sadly) and condense either pee or sea water to collect fresh water from it. Takes a bit of patience; better than the alternatives.

            I know Bear is a talented survivalist and adventurer but I do wonder how much is for show, and what he’d do if truly alone for an unknown time.

          2. Jen S. 2.0*

            Word. I didn’t need more reasons not to be a survivalist, but if I needed any more, here we are.

        1. Amber Rose*

          I mean, at least you’re not as likely to get sick doing that. Not sure what would happen to your skin though.

            1. Amber Rose*

              Urea is not quite the same as urine. I feel like the random stuff in urine would clog your pores like nobody’s business.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  I’m just sort of staring in bemusement that this conversation is really taking place. Life is such a rich tapestry.

        2. Flash Bristow*

          If I was one, I’d know how to adapt plastic bags or bottles (available on any deserted beach, sadly) and condense either pee or sea water to collect fresh water from it. Takes a bit of patience; better than the alternatives.

          I know Bear is a talented survivalist and adventurer but I do wonder how much is for show, and what he’d do if truly alone for an unknown time..?

    4. Lepidoptera*

      Well, just the urine part of human waste.
      Possibly because it’s filtered?
      As far as I can tell it’s one of those pesky truisms, like the earth being flat or flies being created by rotting meat.
      In this case it was poor science.
      “The origin of the “urine is sterile” dogma dates to the mid-1800s and the attempt to understand germ theory by the earliest bacteriologists, including Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister and William Roberts [2–4], who showed that a vial of urine in a sealed container did not turn cloudy, in contrast to a vial of urine exposed to air or with added tap water. The conclusion was that “…fresh and healthy urine is perfectly free from bacteria or other minute organisms””

      1. Veryanon*

        I seem to recall reading somewhere that urine was used as a bleach/cleaning agent by textile manufacturers in the Middle Ages. Urk.

        1. JKP*

          In ancient Rome, the public latrines were next to the laundramat, and the pee ran into basins that the laundramat used to clean and bleach the togas. I think they did something to the urine first before using it as bleach.

          1. Veryanon*

            You’re right! I believe the Romans also used urine as teeth whiteners…Catullus wrote a poem about some guy who (he said) had a white smile because he drank pee, IIRC. Yes, I took 4 years of Latin in high school and that’s all I remember.

            1. Slartibartfast*

              People. It’s the origin of the the phrases piss poor (having to collect the family urine to sell to the tanner) and the worse off so poor they don’t have a pot to piss in. It’s hard to convince animals to pee in a container.

        2. Nobby Nobbs*

          I’ve heard pirates used to do that. I have a vague memory of the Mythbusters finding out it works really well on bloodstains.

        3. Free Meerkats*

          In pre-industrial society, urine (human and animal) is a valuable commodity. Before the invention of the Haber-Bosch process, it was pretty much the only source of ammonia, along with niter and guano mining. It’s big advantage over the other natural sources was that it’s available literally everywhere humans and animals are. Fresh urine doesn’t contain very much, but once allowed to ferment under bacterial action, it becomes a useful ammonia hydroxide solution. This is useful in tanning for removing hair from hides, as a mordant to set vegetable dyes, for bleaching, and as a fertilizer.
          If the Haber-Bosch process ever stops working for whatever reason, agriculture as we know it will cease and starvation will result.

          1. Mags*

            When I first heard about the Haber-Bosch process I was amazed that it is used in something like 80-90% of the world’s food production, and that is why populations in many countries have been able to grow so high. You’re right about the consequences of ‘losing’ this process. People are alive today because of these scientists, but it is little known about and just “another” “evil white people thing” like computers, cars, clean drinking water, and Western medicine. :(

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yeah, this has been wide spread and still constantly going. Someone in that actual post even mentioned it from what I recall!

      I’ve heard a twist to it saying that “It’s only sterile to the person who excreted it”, so they think that you can drink your own urine but not anyone else’s *sobs*

      1. Amber Rose*

        I’ve heard that second one too! The idea being it’s already been through your body, so your body can handle whatever’s in it, but nobody else could.

        It’s amazing how much “logic” people have around these kinds of things in the face of all science.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yeah sadly they are able to convenience us of a lot of nonsense and sometimes they use Fake Science to back it up.

          Think of all that snake oil out there. “Cure your cancer with olive oil baths and running counter clockwise on a full moon!”

        2. RUKiddingMe*

          So many people try to logic or “common sense” away science so much of the time that it literally makes my head hurt.

      2. fposte*

        That’s…not what sterile means.

        (Plus your body has made a point of getting *rid* of it. It doesn’t want it back.)

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yeah…I know. The root of the problem is people don’t understand the meaning of the word. They think “Sterile” means “safe to consume” and I’m like “Gurl, bleach is sterile too.” Since it just means there’s no bacteria in it and it’s “clean”.

    6. Paralegal Part Deux*

      I don’t understand people who think pee is sterile. Even a quick Google search would dispel that myth.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Why would you google search something you “know” is true? It’s such a common myth that people don’t even question it, like how I don’t need to google check whether the ocean is salty even if I’ve never tasted it.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, exactly. And it’s something a lot of scientists and health care people were taught and still state as true.

          1. Spreadsheets*

            Instead of saying “urine is sterile”, which would indicate that it is devoid of bacteria, it should be said “unless you have specific harmful pathogens in your urine, it’s not going to hurt you if ingested”….if you want to get technical. On a practical level, you wouldn’t have a way to know that in advance of accidentally ingesting urine so…meh.

        2. Paralegal Part Deux*

          Because some people like to know more about a subject. I used to routine read encyclopedias for fun.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            IME most people aren’t like you … and me. Once they finish whatever necessary schooling they have to complete, they don’t spend a lot of effort learning. Personally I like knowing stuff. I always win at Jeopardy (no all the people I know IRL, I will not try to get on the show because while I rock in my living room, I will certainly freeze up on the stage). I’m like Johnny Five in Short Circuit…I need input. The general public…not so much,

          2. fposte*

            Me too. And you know what that means? We learned a lot of things as true that aren’t, and we don’t know which is which.

          3. Lissa*

            I mean yeah, but have you googled every single fact you ever learned to assure yourself it’s true, to the point that you don’t understand why people wouldn’t do that? I’m pretty sure we all believe at least some misinformation/common myths!

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*


        People also still think the earth is flat.

        A simple google search can go awfully wrong if you want to “prove” your half-cooked ideas too if you want to go that way. People have even used fake science to get people to believe things [read anti-vaxxers]

        1. Paralegal Part Deux*

          I’m very picky about sources. Pub med being my favorite go to for stuff related to health when I took a course at Tulane.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Same. If it’s not an accredited source, get out of here and even then, you have to realize that research changes over time and to check back!

    7. I hope I'm not alone on this*

      I think my first exposure to this was from, “Catch-22.” Where there is urine from a catheter re-fed to the soldier. I understand, as an adult, that the entire book is anti-war and full of satire. But for some reason, as a kid reading the book for school *knowing* it was satire, that stuck to me as urine being sterile. Like, that was a “true” thing he turned into a “satirical” thing by having the drip lines go straight from the catheter to the mouth.

    8. Persephone Mulberry*

      I think it’s also anecdotally perpetuated by the fact that when you have to give a urine sample at the doctor, oftentimes you’re given a sterile/sealed cup and warned not to touch the inside so you don’t contaminate the sample.

    9. Liane*

      If you read the link in the post, it says that it’s old science, and also test methods current when the Urine Is Sterile belief came about couldn’t detect all the bacterial species in urine.

    10. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Yeap, urine therapy was super popular where I lived when I was in my 20s. A couple we were friends with got WAY into this. We all moved to the US and we invited them and their kids over for a weekend and the family showed up with thermoses of their own pee. They told us they used it as shampoo, toothpaste, drinking water. Got to give them credit, I never smelled a thing.

  9. wellactually*

    “after all, under normal circumstances, urine goes into the same drain system that sink water does.”
    not in my experience, we have sanitary drainage for toilets and urinals, and grey water systems for sinks and showers. it may *eventually* get to the same place, but it’s routed through different systems to get there, so regularly disposing of human waste in the grey water system is… not great. i’m an interior designer, not a mechanical engineer or plumber, though, so i’m happy to be corrected about these systems.

    1. Cascadian*

      Most people in America don’t have grey water systems. We have sewer or septic systems with one large drain that handles all plumbing outflow.

    2. CheeryO*

      Grey water systems are very uncommon in the U.S. (at least in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast… not sure about areas where water is less abundant). But even if grey water was being re-used for irrigation or something, a tiny amount of pee wouldn’t hurt anything.

    3. Jennifer Thneed*

      Around here, people who have grey water systems had them specially installed (and sometimes it skirts city rules). I’m on the West Coast of the US and have lived thru many droughts, so I’ve been hearing about this for ages. Still uncommon in residences. It *might* be a thing in commercial properties, don’t know.

    4. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      Grey water systems are uncommon in homes.
      On cruise ships, on the other hand, they are required – the sheer volume of water for disposal is mind-boggling, and you can’t just pump it over board. When you see a vacuum toilet (as on a plane), there will be a grey water system.

  10. Sue Ellen Mischkey*

    This reminds me of when I worked in our college facilities department. The director had recently retired (he was also in his 70s) and we were cleaning out a lot of old stuff like typewriters from the 80s, old posters, etc. The interim director mentioned that while cleaning out the director’s old office, they had found bottles and bottles of old urine in his drawers. They thought it was gross and funny. I was the only woman working there and I thought it was just gross.

    1. Close Bracket*

      It’s 360 review time here at my workplace. I am so tempted to fill out “Fergus does not pee in sink or bottles. 10/10, would work for again.”

      Actually, I don’t know about the bottles. He has an office with a door that closes (albeit with a bit of a gap that you can see through).

  11. Miss Muffet*

    the toothbrush thing never made any sense to me either. But pee. On a plate. Just so much wrong with that.

  12. Amber Rose*

    Once upon a time, a doctor wanted me to collect pee samples for a month. I was supposed to pee in this jar and keep it in the fridge. With my food. And I couldn’t even handle that, even though it wouldn’t be touching anything.

    I never saw that doctor again, and I did not pee in a jar.

    1. Close Bracket*

      Yeah, that cat urine sample I mentioned above? Had to put it in the fridge. For some reason, that didn’t bother me.

      1. Amber Rose*

        I feel less weird about cat pee than human pee for some reason. Probably because I’m so much more used to the cat being gross. I mean, I spend quite a bit of time wiping up hairballs and cleaning the guck out of his eyes, and twice I’ve had to put him in the bath for being sick on himself. There’s a limit to how disgusted I can feel anymore.

      2. Jessen*

        It’s probably still less gross than that container that’s been in the back of the fridge for months, anyway…

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I maintain a very careful suspension of disbelief regarding some of the stuff in the back of my fridge.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Oh I can not do that. I get very OCD about the fridge. I also do not use the crisper drawers at all. My mom would put stuff in them and then…forget about it, for months. Our fridge was just so gross. I found out a few years ago my sister doesn’t use the crisper drawers either, for the same reason. We never even ever talked about it but apparently both suffered the same childhood iiiccckkk trauma.

            1. Wendy Darling*

              I can get weirdly squeamish about some stuff but not others. I’m not that fussy about most food things — I’m generally very much of the “I haven’t died of it so far!” school of thought.

              I am, however, VERY particular about things I believe should be refrigerated being left out. I think it’s because I grew up someplace VERY hot so unrefrigerated things tended to go off very fast. My partner is from a much cooler climate — his family regularly keep leftovers in their unheated laundry room if the fridge is full because it’s plenty cool there, people have root cellars, his parents didn’t have refrigerators until they were teenagers, etc.

              He doesn’t keep butter in the fridge and I about had an aneurism the first time I found that out.

              1. Jadelyn*

                My mom never refrigerated ketchup when I was growing up. I then had a friend post-college who used to be a biologist and she told me that they used to use room-temperature ketchup to incubate bacteria samples because they loved it and would multiply beautifully in ketchup.

                I started refrigerating my ketchup immediately and can no longer use the ketchup at my mom’s house.

              1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

                My crisper drawers are full of (a) drinks and (b) candy. Actual vegetables go where I can see them, but if I forget about a Butterfinger bar for a year in the crisper drawer it’ll be fine.

                We once had someone abandon deer sausage in the crisper drawer at work. For months. The smell was…astonishing. Finally, I asked the office manager if she smelled it too and we decided it could be thrown the heck out. I still associate the smell of sage with the smell of decay a decade later.

            2. Jaid*

              My roommate at college decided to clean out our room fridge one day, after deciding it smelled. She found a batch of pickles fermenting in the back that she’d forgotten about.

              Mom later claimed the fridge for work. I wonder if her co-workers ever noticed the scent.

    2. fposte*

      When I’ve had to do that, the opaque paper bag has been critical. Which I thought was psychologically interesting (and I probably wouldn’t do it if I used a brown bag for lunch).

      1. TootsNYC*

        I’m not easily grossed out, but I’d probably have to put the jar in a zip-lock bag and THEN in a paper bag of some sort.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, that’s what I did; in fact, the doctor usually provided me with both, but I would create the same arrangement on my own. But a big visual barrier was really important.

    3. Arctic*

      I had to do that and it was exactly what I thought of when I read the initial story.

      I did it but I felt disgusting doing so. I can’t imagine that being someone’s norm.

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would have put it in a box. Then it has it’s own little pee-fortress around it.

      It’s got to be refrigerated so that it keeps it…uh fresh? Yeah it’s gross but yeah, also box. I’m like WTF for a month though, usually that’s for a few days tops!

  13. Veryanon*

    I’m a parent and have raised two humans to near adulthood. I also have two dogs. So I’ve been exposed to pee, poo, vomit, and pretty much anything else a human/animal body can secrete. I still would not use plates that had been peed on, no matter how many times I washed them or with what products.

    1. Autumnheart*

      I had a FORMER friend throw up all over the passenger side of my car, after drinking irresponsibly at an age where we all know way better than that. Which I then to a) drive 45 minutes back to my house, and then b) spend all night cleaning, on a work night, because it was the middle of June and there was *no* way I was letting that fester for one second longer than necessary, and it’s not like there were any open car washes at that time of night.

      I had a beloved cat who developed a lot of intestinal problems, so yeah, that was good practice for going into “Biohazard Mind Blank” mode where you just shut down your higher functions and go on autopilot until it’s cleaned up. When I was done, at SIX in the damn morning, the car looked like it had just rolled off the showroom floor. But I never talked to that friend again!

      (If you’re thinking right now, “Gee, if I threw up in someone’s car, I’d do all these things to make it up to them,” yeah, this friend didn’t do any of those things. I decided to get better friends.)

      My sister said once, “It grosses me out a little to know that someone threw up all over where I’m sitting,” and I’m like, “Dude. You only have to sit in the now-perfectly clean seat, months later. I’m the one who had to clean it. If I can be okay with it, so can you.”

      1. Close Bracket*

        “Biohazard Mind Blank”

        I actually think that is a portion of what’s going on in Pee Boss’s mind (just a portion). Things with my cat get super gross sometimes. Babies and diapers get super gross sometimes. You just … stop seeing the gross. Of course, for me, I look at the gross, and I recognize that it is gross even if it has become normal to me. I don’t subject other people to it.

      2. NiceOrc*

        I have seen a video which is of a woman at a carwash waterblasting the inside of her car. The person taking the video is sniggering at her and calling her stupid. When I saw it I thought it likely that a “body fluids” accident like this had happened and she just wasn’t going to deal with it!

    2. Elizabeth West*

      My ex’s daughter threw up in her bed and didn’t tell us and we didn’t find it until THE NEXT NIGHT.

      It happened several times; then I figured out that she 1) was nervous about going into the hallway to the bathroom at night if she felt sick, and 2) enjoyed sleeping on the cot we set up after the bedding was befouled. A nightlight and a mattress cover solved the problem. Once I put the cover on, it never happened again.

  14. Can't do it*

    Years ago, I had a friend whose mother had jars of her own urine fermenting in the kitchen for several days after which she would strain it and drink it as a pain treatment for arthritis.

    Strain it into any drinking glass.

    I could never consume anything at that house. Just couldn’tt.

    1. Arachnia*

      I think I would just start screaming and never stop if I went into a house where this was going on.

    2. SpellingBee*

      I actually gasped out loud when I read this – and I grew up on a farm and also have had pets all my life, so I thought I was pretty inured to any kind of excretory issue.

      Turns out I was wrong.

    3. Flash Bristow*

      When I’ve had to (aforementioned disability, before I had a stairlift) I had a specific glass that I used (then tipped in sink, rinsed glass til it seemed clean, carefully washed sink, dishwashed glass).

      It was known to be set aside for this purpose.

      One time my best mate chose it for our weekly beer session. I said “oh no! Hang on…” and explained. He said “well it’s been through the dishwasher though?” “Yes of course, every time!” He just shrugged, said “well ok then”, poured in his beer, and continued happily.

      Fwiw I’d drink from it too – not the end of the world and I know its provenance so I know it has been thoroughly hot-cycle washed til sparkling clean.

      However if I was offered a pee glass by someone I didn’t utterly trust, that’d be different.

      May I add that although I’d use the Bob-pee plate IF I knew it was thoroughly cleaned, it would a) be better to label it and shame him, and b) there’s NO excuse for tipping your pee over a co-worker’s hands – if he wasn’t the boss I’d be pushing HR to take action. I’m so sorry OP went through that!

    4. Wendy Darling*

      okay so here’s the thing, and another episode of How People Perceive Grossness Is Super Weird:

      Fresh pee does not gross me out THAT MUCH. Maybe because I had a dog who was incontinent when I got him (luckily for my floors it was due to an infection and we cleared that up) and have had to clean up a lot of pee. Including a time he walked up to me and peed ON ME. I just clean it up and move on. I have a mini carpet shampooing machine, it’s great.

      OLD PEE THOUGH. AGED PEE. COLLECTED IN A CONTAINER AND LEFT TO FESTER FOR DAYS? Grossest. Thing. Ever. Cannot deal. Why does it become grosser? No idea. There is no logic.

      1. SpellingBee*

        YES – that’s it. It was the days-old, aged, festering pee sitting in jars on the kitchen counter that gagged me too. My last kitty was incontinent towards the end, and it never bothered me to clean it up. I mean, I didn’t love it, but I loved her so I dealt with the pee. I also love my Spot Bot, which has done yeoman service over the years.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          The Spot Bot is my personal savior.

          My parents also have a proper big carpet cleaner and I borrow it annually. My carpets are actually probably cleaner than most.

      2. Close Bracket*

        “Why does it become grosser?”

        Bc bacteria grows and it gets cloudy and that’s gross.

  15. Andy*

    Approximately 2 years ago a student got sick in my office. It was the kind of sick no one ever wants to get, especially not in public.
    My water fountain was ….in the line of fire.
    Lo these many moons later, the other students who were present continue to abjure the fountain.
    They have warned others.
    I make tea in the mornings and have taken to boiling extra water to pour over the fountain.
    I, also, continue to abjure the fountain.
    I have a coworker who could NOT CARE LESS that this level 10 monstrosity situation unfolded (ew) on the fountain)
    I swear to heaven when she fills up her water bottle and stares me down It’s like shes hydrating AT ME.

  16. LGC*

    But you will know what happened to them, and unfortunately there is no safe way to bleach a brain.

    Jolie, you are a national treasure.

    (Personally, I’ve found photos of puppies can be somewhat effective in general, although this particular stain is probably set in too much for that.)

  17. Chocoholic*

    I am having a memory of my childhood where my mom used to give us the “green bowl” to keep in or near our bed to throw up into when we were sick. There were 5 of us and that bowl was vomited into on the semi-regular.

    The green bowl was a Tupperware bowl that was also used for the few times a year potluck at school/church and other occasions that needed a large salad. I never thought anything of it until my then-boyfriend now-husband asked me if that was the green bowl I had referenced during a conversation, when it was on a buffet table holding pasta salad. Uhh, yep. Same one. LOL

      1. Flash Bristow*

        Oh gosh. Cos my mother also provided me with a Tupperware vomitorium as a kid. Which all the family used, natch. It had that distinct smell that – well if you weren’t going to be sick before, you are now!

        Nowadays my vom bowl is a pink washing up bowl left by an ex-PA. The weird thing is that on the bottom it says “next time let’s get a takeaway” !

        1. Chocoholic*

          We tend to empty the nearest trashcan and use that, on the rare instance it is needed. Once in the car, my daughter needed a container quickly so I gave her a gallon-sized ziplock bag. My knitting had been in it and I was just thankful there were no holes poked in from my needles! :0

    1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      We had a “throw-up pan” for this, so at least it was made of metal and thus was both non-porous and heated to a high temperature in regular use. Still not a tradition I think I’ll continue in my own life.

    2. Momma*

      We always used an empty plastic ice cream bucket – saved them all year for when we went to You Pick fruit places in the summer. The puke buckets were always thrown away if used since we ate a LOT of ice cream.
      I do remember one time right after a marathon blueberry picking week we were out of buckets and either me or my sister got sick Dad gave us the popcorn bowl – basically the yellow version of Chocoholic’s green bowl. Mom and the non-sick kid were furious!

    3. londonedit*

      This reminds me of a story in Bill Bryson’s childhood autobiography (The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) – when he was a small child, he’d often need to pee just before he and his mother left the house, when she was in the midst of getting-ready hurry. So she had a jar that she kept downstairs for him to pee in, rather than having to get him to the bathroom. This went on for some time, apparently, until one day (if I remember correctly) his father offered him something from the fridge, and young Bill exclaimed in horror ‘No! That’s the toity jar!’ At which point his father learned that his mother had been letting small Bill pee in a Tupperware jar.

    4. Lorelei*

      Oh my. My family had that green Tupperware bowl, and the mustard yellow version. Both were puke bowls; both were stored nested with the ceramic mixing bowls, and were also used for mixing stuff. I was sick a lot as a kid, and even looking at them made me queasy. 20+ years since I’ve seen them, and my sense memory of the texture of those bowls is still stunning and visceral. I cannot believe we mixed Jell-O in those things. (As a tender-stomached adult, I have a designated bucket, never to be used for any other purpose.)

  18. It’s all good*

    My good friend is an MD and said almost all urine is sterile (unless an infection of course). Who knows.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I have plenty of good friends with MD’s and lots of them have conflicting information. It all depends on where they draw their “medical opinions” from.

      The article they link here says that yes, it was doctors/science that this came from. Yet it has been recently[ish] debunked with further research.

      Medical research is forever evolving and re-tooling itself. It’s never ever in the same place one day to the next. So this is why second opinions are crucial and shopping docs who aren’t always constantly updating their knowledge base or simply “disagree” with research for one reason or another.

    2. jamberoo*

      It’s sterile UNTIL it leaves the body, which is when it comes into contact with the person’s exteriors which are NOT sterile.

      1. fposte*

        Close, but here are the findings: healthy urine still has a very small amount of microorganisms within the bladder. It’s just that previous studies hadn’t really investigated what’s going on in situ with healthy bladders. (I’m not finding actual numbers, but my impression is that we’re talking far lower numbers than within saliva.) And obviously if you have an infection your urine will contain a much higher level of bacteria.

        As you note, it’ll also pick up bacteria, especially in women, as it leaves the body. But it wasn’t completely sterile to begin with–science just didn’t look very closely.

  19. Lyn*

    This same thing happened years and years ago at my workplace. The gentleman was older and was peeing into a cup in the storage room and pouring down the kitchen sink to avoid the longish walk to the bathrooms. Maybe he was having urinary problems and couldn’t hold it that long? Not sure. Anyway, he was told to stop and it wasn’t too long after that he retired.

  20. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    Was there an update on this one? I would be jumping up and down with glee, hand waving, to *volunteer* to have this conversation with the pee-boss.

  21. frostipaws*

    “It is never okay to dispose of your personal waste on someone or on their things unless it is consensual”
    Printing this post to show to the cat….

    1. Delta Delta*

      I had a cat who decided my backpack was his urinal of choice. He died about 5 years ago, but if I could I would show him this post.

  22. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    Bob is a disgusting pig. I wouldn’t use those plates; hell I wouldn’t ever use that sink.

    Call OSHA. Blech.

  23. JKP*

    The link Jolie provided about urine not being sterile has this little gem in it: “A university campus in the U.K. is using urine to power indoor lighting.”

    For some reason imagining pee lighting *above my head* squicks me out more than the pee dishes.

    1. Close Bracket*

      Sounds like the actual pee is in batteries elsewhere, if that makes it better.

  24. Just Visiting*

    AND AND AND even if urine were sterile, it wouldn’t be *sterilizing*, which is a disgusting distinction I have had to make to so many people when this kind of thing comes up in conversation??

    ugh seriously though, this dude is going to haunt my nightmares. the gall it takes to brazenly do this kind of thing because you don’t think anyone will challenge your authority makes me feel almost as ill as the idea of pouring pee into a communal sink WHILE OTHER PEOPLE ARE PRESENT??? like… ????

  25. Pomona Sprout*

    I’m with you, PollyQ (hey, that rhymes lol). I could use the dishes, too. If a good trip through the dishwasher, etc., left me still feeling uneasy, I’m sure the bleach soak someone else described would do it for me. There’s something about bleach that makes anything seem clean to me.

    At the same time, I completely understand the reactions of others here., even those that are not 100% irrational, but irrational doesn’t mean the emotions are not real. I have plenty of other things I’m irrational about. Just not this.

  26. Auntie Social*

    I vote for leaving some random dirty dishes in the sink so it looks like usual, then stretching clingwrap across the sink. So when he pours his pee on it, the pee splashes back on him.

    1. Delta Delta*

      Noooooo! I will give you a 100% guarantee he doesn’t clean that up. Then there will be Bob-Pee all over the office kitchen and they’ll have to burn down the building to clean it.

  27. Dr. Doll*

    How much time…hours…have I just spent reading this post and the comments and not working on my things. My state’s taxpayers are going to send an IOU to Alison (public university grunt here).

    But OMG thank you, thank you, thank you all for this hilarious, ridiculous, disgusting, outrageous, utterly too too, STUPENDOUS conversation.

  28. Jaid*

    One: I am reminded of the rules of kashering dishes. “Leviticus 6:21 says, “And the earthenware vessel in which it was cooked shall be bro­ken; and if it was cooked in a brazen vessel, it shall be scoured, and rinsed in water.” This verse is the basis for certain rules of kashering dishes, and what may or may not be kasherable.

    Whether or not you can keep the dishes you already own depends on the material from which they are made. If the dishes are “earthen,” that is, china or stoneware, it is most likely you will not be able to keep them, at least not for immediate use. Unglazed earthenware cannot be kashered at all, as the porous ceramic permanently absorbs juices and flavors from foods.”

    There’s more, link below.

    Two: A family relative peed in the floor grate of the central A/C at his house. It was years and years ago and certainly there’s no smell now. But yeah. I wonder how long he regretted it.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      >A family relative peed in the floor grate of the central A/C at his house.
      What possessed him?!

      1. Jaid*

        I think he was under 10 and just…needed to pee. Honestly, I never felt the need to ask why… LOL

  29. PennyLane*

    Ooh, thanks for sharing this podcast; I’ve been needing a new one!

    And I agree that there is no way I could mentally use those dishes again, I would 100% throw them out.

  30. TPS Cover Sheet*

    Ah but people… an old anecdote. An antiques dealer was invited to a dinner at a posh house and the hosts were very keen to show off their antique porcelain setting. After the dinner they asked the antiques dealer if any piece caught his eye specially…. ”Yes your soup toureen, it’s hard to find a genuine Georgian chamberpot unchipped in that condition…”

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      I … hope so hard that is a joke. I’m sure it’s HILARIOUS to antiques dealers.

  31. Michaela Westen*

    I have 4 steak knives at home, and two of them were too dull to cut steak. I took a sharpie and made a line at the base of the blade on these so I’d know to use them to cut vegetables.
    The sharpie line has mostly come off. I can still see it near the edge, and I just want to say sharpie on the plates will probably come off over time.
    Maybe write on them and put them in his office?

  32. Cat Meowmy Admin*

    I just want to say – not only am I a devoted reader of “Ask A Manager”, and now I absolutely will add “Ask A Clean Person” to my must-read list.
    Thank you, Alison! All of us with varying viewpoints on a wide range of topics definitely share the same reactions to this one!
    The phrase “This is Bob’s plate. THAT HE PEED ON!” will be etched in my memory banks for a long time to come.

  33. TaraT*

    I advise buying paper and plastic disposable cups and plates for that office. In fact, I think it is better for all offices. An office is not a home. The real plates and cups belong in a home for personal use. Why use them at work at all.

    1. Anon not a hippie, just a modern person*

      The world at large is moving away from one-time use papers and plastics that clutter our dumps and infiltrate our water supplies. I… I think that is a good thing?

    2. Former Govt Contractor*

      Just say NO to single use plastic! Why can’t you use “real plates and cups” at work?

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