Science Confirms Double-Dipping Is, in Fact, Disgusting

With truly admirable characteristics like putting himself before others in emergency situations, creating an innovative solution to sleeping on the clock at work, and perpetuating a lie to the extent of saving a beached whale in order to win over a girl, it's admittedly hard to not want to be more like George Costanza. However, there's at least one social offense made famous by the neurotic "Seinfeld" character that you should never, ever commit: double-dipping. In fact, science has confirmed it's as disgusting as you'd think it is.

In an article published last week in Scientific American, food scientist Paul Dawson seemingly double-dipped in his own work by summarizing a 2009 study he cowrote with a team of researchers at Clemson University, which investigated the act of double-dipping and whether it transfers germs from your mouth to the communal snack. But is double-dipping, as Timmy incredulously told George, like "putting your whole mouth" into the dip? Unfortunately, that appears to be the case, per the research.

The Clemson team performed a series of experiments with "solutions" you might commonly find among the spread at a social gathering, such as salsa, cheese dips, and chocolate dips. What they found is that when the dips had not been exposed to double-dipping, there were no detectable bacteria. But when someone did double-dip in them, a significant amount of bacteria were transferred. Interestingly, the level of disgusting seemed to vary from dip to dip.

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"Once subjected to double-dipping, the salsa took on about five times more bacteria (1,000 bacteria/ml of dip) from the bitten chip when compared to chocolate and cheese dips (150-200 bacteria/ml of dip)," Dawson wrote in the article. "But two hours after double-dipping, the salsa bacterial numbers dropped to about the same levels as the chocolate and cheese."

Dawson goes on to explain that dips with lower viscosity, like salsa, result in more of the dip falling from the bitten chip or cracker and back into the shared serving dish -- bringing all that mouth bacteria with it. Additionally, the researchers found that thicker dips, like cheese dips and chocolate dips, tend to go faster, which reduces the risk of being exposed to double-dipping.

But should you actually be worried about scooping up more than just delicious queso at your next wake, baby shower, or Festivus party? According to the research, yes. Dawson offers this advice: "If you detect double-dippers in the midst of a festive gathering, you might want to steer clear of their favored snack. And if you yourself are sick, do the rest of us a favor and don’t double-dip."

Hate to say it, but perhaps people should start recognizing George Constanza for the psychopathic monster that he is.

h/t Munchies

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and will totally call you out for double-dipping, you nasty. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.