A poll of University students has found that the cleanliness of their accommodation quickly drops to appalling levels of hygiene than threaten their health.
One respondent said that after he’d moved in to the house that he shared for a year with four other male students, the bathroom didn’t get cleaned again until the end of the academic year.
The average student claimed that the kitchen was cleaned five times during the year. Washing up, according to the majority, tended to accumulate, resulting in a major washing up session once a month. “At the end of my first month, I got on first name terms with the staff at the local takeaway,” one student said.
Several students said that they ended up throwing plates and pots and pans away because the food had set like cement. Baked beans, lasagne, mozzarella and rice were the most likely to be impossible to remove. Saucepans and plates were the items most frequently thrown out. One student said that they had requested a recycling bin for ceramics from the local council. Another said that he had thrown away the angled griller, a firm favourite of students, because the smell was preventing him from falling asleep.
Fridges weren’t cleaned during the year according the majority. Fewer than one in 20 students said that they had thought to clean the inside of the fridge.
Another student said that she had thrown two toasters out the front window of the house because the Ryvita in it had set alight due to an overload of crumbs and she was unable to tell whether it was the Ryvita, plastic or an electrical fire that she could smell.
Most students said that they thought that they got ill more often in the first term, a phenomenon referred to as Fresher’s Flu. The majority said that they thought that it was due to the low levels of cleanliness in their houses and an adjustment in their diets. Most students said that once the food that they came with was consumed, they would resort to one or two simple meals that they’d learnt to cook and eat those most often. Vegetable consumption, aside from potatoes, declined dramatically.
Last year, a student flat in Sheffield was named Britain’s dirtiest. The flat ‘featured’ an indoor compost heap. Pictures were released of a student taking a ‘smellfie’ of himself in front of a pile of rubbish in the kitchen.
To attempt to replicate the worst of the Fresher’s experience, Finnish probiotic drink manufacturer, Valio, makers of the Gefilus drink, which builds the body’s immune system with helpful bacteria, sent Ian Wright, the travel presenter, on a backpacking-style excursion around Europe. Wright was instructed to stick out his tongue and lick some of the dirtiest, most germ-infested places in Europe, to capture the worst of student life. Wright drank a bottle of Gefilus a day throughout the trip.
The foul-mouthed tour included a trip with his tongue along a heavily used escalator handrail, sucking kindergarten toys, licking a handrail on an underground train, drinking from a half-consumed beer bottle from a full skip, licking the headset in a busy public phone box, sampling a variety of door handles and sculptures in public places, running his tongue over a flush button in a train loo and licking the floor of a Russian loo.
Wright’s exploits have been turned into a 25 minute documentary, The ‘Lickhiker’s’ Guide to Inner Strength,now available on YouTube, which makes the case for good gut health in fighting off the risks of bacteria.
Throughout the trip, Wright used a handheld device, a luminometer, to take swabs and assess the presence of bacteria. Some of the readings are terrifying.
Niko Vuorenmaa from Valio who organised the world’s worst travel assignment said:
“We genuinely had Ian’s best interests at heart throughout this tour. Valio Gefilus contains the world’s most researched lactic acid bacterium, lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which has qualities scrutinized in more than 800 scientific studies globally. The unique property of the bacteria allows it to attach firmly to the intestinal wall and stay strong and alive in the gut despite the acid fluids in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.”
Wright’s tour started in Helsinki and moved to London via Örebro, Warsaw, Moscow and Frankfurt. Along the route Wright meets doctors, professors and scientists in-
between licking challenges that threaten his immune system. He managed his tour of the continent without becoming incontinent.
Ian Wright said: “Normally a tour of Europe is a great gig for my tongue, featuring trips to gourmet restaurants, cafes and more. There was no Michelin Star experience on this trip, though perhaps I deserve a Michelin Star for bravery.”
Doctors examined Wright after the trip and gave him a clean bill of health.