Five second rule

In my house, one of the first rules my children will quote is the famous ‘five second rule’. It is the rule that, if any food has fallen on the floor in the kitchen, it can possibly still be eaten f it is picked up very quickly.  (They learned very quickly that the five second rule did not apply to the lovely streets and boulevards of Paris!)

I always thought the five second rule was a complete myth and just a good excuse for tired parents not to have to go fetch yet another cookie or throw away a sandwich with just one bite in it, but turns out I was possibly wrong. Scientist at a British University have found proof that the five second rule could actually be true! I love it!

Now I am wondering, is the five second rule just a European thing? Or even maybe just an English thing?

– Emilie

23 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. martine | April 8, 2014 | Reply

Emilie I’m from New Zealand and we say it too!

2. Mo | April 8, 2014 | Reply

We use it (although we say 3-second rule and in reality it is about a 3 minute rule!). I always thought a moderate amount of exposure to germs was good for kids anyway (here I go justifying my parenting)?

3. Vera | April 8, 2014 | Reply

I am from Germany (my mum from South africa) and I grew up with the 10 second rule… Maybe the five extra seconds in our household are the “lazy-bonus”, just in case we are not quick enough … ;-)

4. Jess | April 8, 2014 | Reply

I am from England and we use the 3 second rule too!

5. Cris | April 8, 2014 | Reply

I’m from Brazil and we have the same. Regra dos 5 segundos. :>)

6. GCKaren | April 8, 2014 | Reply

Australians love the 5 second rule! :)

7. Christine | April 8, 2014 | Reply

Chiming in from Canada. We have it too.

8. Jen | April 8, 2014 | Reply

Ha! In the US we say the 10 second rule!

9. Jodi | April 8, 2014 | Reply

I’m from the U.S. and I personally use the 5 second rule… but only if I know my floors are clean! :o)

10. Nayelli | April 8, 2014 | Reply

We use it in Mexico too! But I must say I’m no quiet convinced because children are not that fast sometimes and it can turn into a bad habit…I guess

11. kisfaludi nóra | April 8, 2014 | Reply

We have the same thing, here in Hungary :) Not everyone agree with it but in our family it is a thumbs up:)

12. margaret | April 8, 2014 | Reply

we use it big time in the US!

13. Steph | April 8, 2014 | Reply

Same here in the US. Plus my mom always said “you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.”

14. Emilie in Paris | April 8, 2014 | Reply

So funny! Looks like some things ARE the same all over the world. I really like that! xx

15. Christy | April 8, 2014 | Reply

We (USA) use the five second rule all the time as well…..but with the full knowledge that germs transfer instantly. I think if we had pets walking about the floors, we might do things differently!

16. Helen | April 9, 2014 | Reply

In Australia we have the 3 second rule at home. But the other day my 6 yr old girl was devouring her favourite pink finger bun and she dropped it outside a filthy supermarket entrance. And a man picked it up and gave it back to her whilst quoting the 3 second rule!?! I was horrified. She said thank you and continued to eat it!?! But she hasnt died yet.

17. Lisa | April 9, 2014 | Reply

Another New Zealander here. Yep, we’ve got the 3 second rule although sometimes if I’m really honest it might even be the ‘undetermined time brush it off it’ll be alright’ rule.

The rule varies depending on what the food is (stickiness factor), how clean the floor is and how many times mama has already yoyo-fed the 4 kids (get food, give food, get food, give food, food dropped? brush it off it’ll be fine dahlin’).

18. catherine | April 9, 2014 | Reply

I’m from the UK and totally agree, although I think I first heard it when I was very small from my Canadian cousins, so it’s definitely a thing. I would never do it in a public place though, unless it was just on the table of a restaurant, but growing up my parents’ house was very very clean and I would never think to eat something I dropped on the floor there!

19. catherine | April 9, 2014

Oops, I mean never think NOT to eat something I dropped on the floor there!

20. Esther in Amsterdam | April 10, 2014 | Reply

I’ve never heard of the 5 second rule before! But it does make sense. I’m totally ok to let my kids pick up food from the floor and eat it — provided the floor is not dirty of course, and indeed, the food hasn’t been there for a long time yet ;)! But Casper, when he crawls underneath the table, occasionally finds a nice piece of bread or a piece of pancake, fallen on the floor during breakfast… Haha, I think it will strengthen his immune system (– and no, my floor is not always in pristine order). What I do find most interesting about the research, is that carpet leaves less bacteria than tiles, and I always thought that tiles were the cleaner option. x

21. Maria | April 10, 2014 | Reply

Same here in Spain!

22. Aldy | April 16, 2014 | Reply

in Indonesia even worse we said “5 minutes”

23. Emilie | April 18, 2014

I like the 5 minute rule idea too!

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