A team of five University of Virginia scientists studied why sinks have been linked to outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria. When the sink faucets were run once a day, the bacteria in the pipes were either somewhat flushed away, or remained at least partly in place.
When the sinks weren’t turned on frequently, a biofilm of bacteria began climbing the pipework. In just eight days, there was a substantial presence of microbes in the sink’s strainers. When these sinks were turned on again, the bacteria was spread from the strainer to the countertop surrounding the sink, from where it could be potentially distributed further, either by individuals touching the surface, or via objects placed upon it.
Researchers from the University of Arizona have shown that filling a bathroom sink with warm water containing a cup of household bleach, leaving it for 10 minutes, then draining the sink, reduced bacteria around the drain by more than 90% when done three times a week.
For more information on microbes and plumbing, read our classic blog post
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