How often do you wash your office coffee mug?

Be honest, coworkers: has that desk mug seen soap this month?

Woman staring off into distance while drinking out of yellow coffee mug
How long has it been, girly?
Photo: William Gottlieb/Corbis (Getty Images)

Hello, filthy people. I see you heading back to your offices with novelty coffee mugs in tow. I see you filling those things up at the community Keurig, slurping the coffee down, and then barely giving them a cursory rinse before starting the whole song and dance over again. I see those 2002 Hard Rock Cafe souvenir mugs growing crustier by the day, forming a stinky patina next to your dual-monitor setup. And so, I must ask: how often to do you wash your office coffee mugs? I mean, really wash them. Running them under cold water for a second and/or wiping them out with a paper towel does not count as washing.


My hope is that you wash your office coffee mug regularly, if not on a daily basis. But just when I think I’ve seen it all, I learn about naval officers who let their mugs gather detritus for years, drinking out of the same filthy mug as some sort of twisted status symbol. Some officers even argue that an unwashed mug retains flavor better, like that mysterious orange Tupperware in the office pantry that’s never been the same since Desiree in Accounting made Sloppy Joes.

Me, I wash mine on the daily. Mouths are gross, and old coffee tastes like butt. Still, I’m curious: how often to do you scrub out your office coffee mug with soap and water? Be honest. This is a safe space.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.



I don’t drink coffee or tea every day at work but if I do have a cup, I typically wash up before I go home. (I have to use hot H2O from the water dispenser, hand soap and a paper towel in the bathroom sink, because we don’t have a break room (or hot water in our bathroom sink).) My former boss, on the other hand, lets his espresso cup get completely gnarly. I swear it goes weeks between washing. One time he went on vacation and left that horror-show sitting on his desk, so I washed it as best I could at work before bringing it home for a proper scrubbing. At the time, I didn’t even have a dishwasher — it was so gross, I voluntarily added to my hand washing in order to end the science experiment. You would think a biochemist whose expertise is taste and smell would be better, but no.