Do you clean your cans before drinking?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Snowcrash000, Apr 7, 2022.

  1. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (4,537) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    I know this might seem like an odd question, but bear with me here, this is something that I've been meaning to ask for a while now. I realize that cans in the USA often come in 4-packs with a plastic holder that shields the top of the can and for the longest time I always thought how silly this was and couldn't figure out the point... until I did. However, it's still possible to buy single cans in the USA, so I feel like this question is still valid.

    A little backstory here: A while ago I ordered some cans online and noticed one can being visibly stained at the top, presumeably from some spillage. So I took a wet wipe to clean it up and then, just on impulse cleaned out the cans that looked fine as well, which left the wet wipe visibly stained. I'm specifically talking about the little groove that runs around the top of the can.

    Even if I'm not drinking from the can directly, the beer still pools in that groove when pouring and the thought of it running through all that gunk that I'm sometimes picking up from perfectly clean looking cans when cleaning is frankly disgusting. Case in point, here's the wet wipe I used to clean today's haul. I do use kitchen roll to wipe away residue from the wet wipes afterwards as well, by the way.

  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,566) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I will confess that I don't clean the top of my cans but based upon the photo above maybe I should? :flushed:

    Who am I kidding; I am too lazy here. And the alcohol in the beer will kill any germs! :stuck_out_tongue:

  3. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,808) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Yeah, in general I'll give 'em a quick wipe with a rag or towel, but I don't get too worried about it. Now if I see that there's been some spillage en route to me, then I'll clean 'em better.
    vabeerguy, Amendm, budsNpils and 6 others like this.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,566) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

  5. MadMadMike

    MadMadMike Disciple (300) Dec 11, 2020 Florida
    Society Trader

    Nah - maybe a quick top rub on the bottom of the tee shirt.
    I started quaffing Genessee Beer in cans 50 years ago and nothing ever happened.

    I mean as far as wiping the cans anyways lol.,.
  6. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,381) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    If there is something visible, I'll wipe it off (maybe - depends on whether I notice).

    Otherwise, no.

    Personally, I think modern society is TOO sanitary, to our societal detriment (i.e. weakened immune response when it is really needed). JMO. I haven't investigated the science. Growing up on a dairy farm, I ingested a lot of crap (likely literally) with no harm.
    #6 MNAle, Apr 7, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  7. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (532) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Yeah, not so much but then it's the funk that keeps your immune system evolving in our world of ever changing strains :wink:
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,566) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    George Carlin had a whole standup routine on this. Just a snippet:

    George Carlin : "When I was a little boy in New York City in the 1940s, we swam in the Hudson River, and it was filled with raw sewage, okay? We swam in raw sewage! You know, to cool off."

    vabeerguy, oneeye, MadMadMike and 2 others like this.
  9. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (14,344) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I'm of the "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" school. If I see something dodgy, I lick it off. :grimacing:
  10. eppCOS

    eppCOS Poo-Bah (2,006) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    To your question, OP, if it's a full coverage sleeve/protect, and it "looks" clean, most of us will likely not do so.
    If it's still wrapped at the top of the hilt with clear pastic and gunk gets on the top and I see that -ish, it will definitely get a little rinse off, and wipe-off from me.
    Cheers und prost!
    vabeerguy, ChicagoJ and Ozzylizard like this.
  11. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (3,022) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    I’m a firm believer that all the crap I inadvertently ingest and inhale only makes me stronger. So no, I don’t. But I also almost never drink straight from the can, bottle, or tap.
  12. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Crusader (738) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I always wipe any can with the bottom of my shirt. Not sure that does anything from a sanitary perspective. It’s just a habit I developed. I general live by the motto “camping clean”.
  13. tolar111

    tolar111 Crusader (768) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    During the we're all going to die stage of Covid I went to extremes. I also
    greatly prefer bottles and purchase beer packaged that way when possible.
    Now I give cans a quick wipe as needed. When I originally posted this pick
    I said, this why I love cans so much.

  14. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Disciple (383) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I just give the old Tshirt wipe on the pour spout unless there is obvious dust/debris, then it'll get the hot water & paper towel wipe.
    eppCOS and Ozzylizard like this.
  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,490) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I use these (not always easy to find - damn supply chain problems!):
  16. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Poo-Bah (1,805) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey

    I confess I did this a few times at the beginning as well. But soon I fell back into lazy habits. So the answer is, no, I don’t clean the cans off.
    jonphisher, Ozzylizard and tolar111 like this.
  17. Giantspace

    Giantspace Savant (968) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Yup, a quick squirt from the faucet and then wipe with my shirt.

    Rug, Ozzylizard and MadMadMike like this.
  18. LarryV

    LarryV Poo-Bah (3,097) Jun 13, 2001 Massachusetts

    I don't usually bother unless it's obviously begrunged.
  19. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Poo-Bah (1,533) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    This. Exactly. This.
    kuhndog, Ozzylizard and MadMadMike like this.
  20. rgb03

    rgb03 Initiate (119) Oct 16, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Cans out of a sealed carton no.
    Pouring from can to glass. I’ll wash if there’s visual evidence of dirt.
    Drinking straight from a can yes if home. If away from home it gets the shirt rub.
    budsNpils, Rug, dcotom and 1 other person like this.
  21. BruChef

    BruChef Initiate (186) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    Yes. Every time. Not just for beer cans but for any can that contains edible substances. Not uncommon for warehouses to have rodents and bugs and however unlikely it may be, the thought of any of them running over the tops of the cans of consumables I purchase creeps me out.
  22. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Meyvn (1,298) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I mean, if it's obviously nasty, sure I'll wipe it. But that's an extremely low percentage of the times I'm drinking. So low, that I'd have to say no, I don't wipe cans.
  23. Ozzylizard

    Ozzylizard Poo-Bah (4,913) Oct 5, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I agree. Exposure to a few bacteria/fungus/viruses will help strengthen your immune system.

    And I NEVER drink directly from the container!
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  24. monkist

    monkist Meyvn (1,359) Dec 7, 2016 Hungary

    I must admit I’m so glad to see this, knowing that I’m not the only one:grin: TBH since Covid began I also started washing them cans, even going as far as buying beer at 7-11 and running off to the restroom right after to wash the thing with soap… yeah, I know it’s insane:rolling_eyes:
    Maybe the whole paranoia started quite a few years ago after seeing a kid in the news who died after having drank his soda straight out of a can infected by rat piss from the warehouse…
    Ignorance is bliss. I want to go back to the good old days when I couldn’t care less.
  25. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,369) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I pretty much pour all of my beers into glassware - I like seeing the beer, even if it's a lager, and I'm cleaning my car.

    But on the occasions I drink from the can, i.e. social events, camping, etc., I do not wipe the can.
    Beer_Economicus and monkist like this.
  26. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,959) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Always. That's 10-15 seconds well spent, especially for the shelf turds I usually buy.
    BruChef and monkist like this.
  27. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,200) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    If it looks dirty, yeah I’ll usually give the top of the can a good wash. A lot of the time though I’m getting the beer directly from the brewery so when that’s the case I don’t even think about it. Plus those annoying 4/6 pack holders usually protect the top of the can.

    My old man used to work at an RC Cola distro center back in the 60’s. He told me that all sorts of nasty stuff would happen to those cans. Rats and mice were in the warehouse so he’d see them running across the cans sometimes. Also workers would sometimes have to stand/walk on the cans with their dirty ass work boots that probably had rat shit on them. He convinced me early on to make sure you wash your can lids (this goes for food cans as well)
  28. Uberdachen

    Uberdachen Initiate (35) Jun 21, 2019 Minnesota

    Swig of booze, breathe on can, order nurse to wipe, open, and place in surgical drink hat.
  29. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (295) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    If it's visibly stained or dirty I'll rinse it off. If not I don't give it a second thought.
  30. beer_beer

    beer_beer Defender (629) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    Never, so far :slight_smile:

    Edit: once a bottle was broken in the mailed box, I washed at least some of the other bottles and cans, if not all to make sure.
    #30 beer_beer, Apr 8, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2022
  31. Capt_Loomis

    Capt_Loomis Aspirant (244) Feb 26, 2020 Florida
    Society Trader

    I don't but maybe I should after seeing how dirty that rag is! I do clean off my wife's soda cans though because that is the way she likes them.
  32. Prager62

    Prager62 Poo-Bah (2,365) May 7, 2010 Colorado
    Society Trader


    I usually give the top a quick inspection/wipe but this recent Oskar Blues BA21 Volume:5 required a bit more elbow grease. The sad part was it was a cardboard sealed 4 pack!:flushed: It appeared to be dried grease perhaps from the packaging line? As gross as it looked, the beer was fine!:grin:
  33. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,160) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    i know ppl who have seen rats run across -- and linger atop -- pallets of cans at distributorships.
    ChicagoJ, oneeye and Rug like this.
  34. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,065) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    That's about the same time I started drinking straight from the can....
    rocdoc1, PA-Michigander and tolar111 like this.
  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,490) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I think the folks at Mythbusters did an episode about that - soda pop cans, but figure it's gotta be close to the same thing as far as the stuff on the exterior.
    BBThunderbolt, Rug, oneeye and 3 others like this.
  36. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,381) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota


    :grin: :beers:
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,566) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Did you create that collage of lager colors?

    If so, kudos to you.

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  38. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,381) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Yes, just before I posted.

    It's a collage of selected lagers I've had (and posted in various threads - NBW, mostly) over the past few months.

  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,566) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    You created a nice spectrum of colors there!!

    And it made me thirsty! :beer:

    Beer_Economicus, MNAle and beer_beer like this.
  40. spicoli00

    spicoli00 Defender (640) Jul 6, 2005 Indiana

    Dirt don't hurt! Drink up!
    woodchipper likes this.