It’s something we all use, but you could unknowingly be drinking some pretty gross remnants.
There’s no easy way to put it – there’s a chance that people have boiled their underwear in your hotel kettle to clean them by popping them in the kettle and flicking on the switch. The revelation has naturally sent social media into a meltdown.
The panic all started when Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg posted on Twitter and Facebook “does anyone I know clean their underwear in a kettle when travelling”, stating his friend swears it’s something people do.
People have been quick to voice their disgust at the thought of it.
“This just wouldn't even occur to me in the first place,” one user said. “Like, why wouldn't you just boil some water, then pour it into another container?”
Another said: “Now there's something I wish I could un-see, never going to be able to use a hotel kettle again, because you know for one person to ask if it's ok, there must be many that do it without a second thought.”
Some saw the funny side of it.
“Next they will ask me not to use the iron to cook bacon!” one person said.
“If you put your underwear in there then there's no room to cook your pasta.”
One social media user said that participating in teenage footy trips over the years were enough for him to believe it.
“I've seen things done in hotel kettles that will stop you ever using them,” he said.
Senior lecturer in molecular biosciences at Massey University Auckland Heather Hendrickson told science and technology website Gizmodo that the practice was “super super super super gross”.
Boiling kills some microorganisms, but not all of them. Some bacteria form spores that can’t be killed with temperatures under 120ºC.
"These don't cause sickness if they are consumed, but their presence in certain environments can encourage them to produce a toxin that can be deadly," Hendrickson said.
A former flight attendant also commented on social website Reddit that she recommends not using the hotel kettle because when she was a flight attendant, she and her colleagues would often use it to wash their pantyhose for overnight stays.
Some people even use the humble kettle as a cooking appliance, putting the eggs inside the kettle and boiling it.
On the post about the underwear cooking, a social media user said: “Hard boiling an egg in there I definitely do, but using it to clean clothes ... nope.”
This article first published on Travel at 60.