Cleanliness is only a perception, it is all about concentration


A couple of days back I re-washed a dish which I felt was not clean enough to my liking. While doing that I thought of all the people out there who would not have bothered doing what I had done and then suddenly this struck me - whatever I was defining as cleanliness was still only a perception.

No matter how much I cleaned the dish, it would never become perfectly clean simply because it is physically impossible to get to that 100% clean state where the dish does not have any particulate residual matter left on it. Every iteration of cleaning would only reduce the absolute amount of residual matter left on the dish until the amount of particulate matter in the water used for cleaning the dish becomes the limiting factor to the cleaning process.

The process is similar to trying to displace a liquid, say ethanol, from a container through a hole in its bottom by continuously pouring another miscible liquid, say water, into the container. No matter how long you pour the second liquid the concentration of the first liquid in the container will never become absolute 0. It will only keep on decreasing infinitely.

As with the above example, when you say that something is clean it only would mean that the levels of unacceptable matter (organic or inorganic) on the object is below a certain allowable threshold ppm thus making the definition of cleanliness an implication of the concentration of the unacceptable matter on the object and never an absence of the unacceptable matter.

You can extend this to your hands also. If you touch something dirty, it is going to take quite a lot of washing to really take the dirt of your hands. That would bring in the importance of washing with soap as it would try to chemically remove/neutralize the biotic and a-biotic waste on your hands.

So next time you worry about cleanliness, think of it, it is all relative and nothing is perfectly clean :-).

How does this apply to production environments? ;-)

No matter how much effort is spent in bug fixing, the production environment will always tend to have some bugs? ;-)

True, very true :)

we were looking for a multi-tasking-dishwasher with such logical-philosophical qualities that he keeps scrubbing while writing his blog or vice versa... our search ends here.

For the five years in the US, I was the official dish-washer at the places I stayed at. So I had enough time to perfected the art of thinking while scrubbing. I also have another offer as a professional mosquito killer so I am weighing between your offer and the other offer :-)

Looking back, I have some satisfaction in the fact that I took up the complete responsibility of cleaning after cooking because that helped me save a few quintals of tissue paper. Tissue paper is so cheap in the US that people overuse it for cleaning up. I had painstakingly used dish clothes to clean up and dry up the dishes as well as kitchen counters. And of course I did not know cooking and felt that cleaning up was much easier than cooking while my flat-mates thankfully felt the other way :-)

As long as your food doesnt contain AN element that will cause a health problem to YOU, it doesnt matter what level of cleanliness your hands/utensils are. Again, it depends on the level of immunity your body has.

So if you are a mad scientist, eat food from increasingly dirty containers until you are sick. Then you will know how much level of dirt your body can safely take.

Thanks for providing a nice subject for a lazy afternoon! :)

So let us call that the dirt resistance quotient. The more your body is used to dirty environments the more resistant that you would become at the cost of exposing yourself to some virulent strains that exist only in very dirty conditions.

Why do you think Indians have much more immunity compared to others

Yeah, it is like a slow immunization program orchestrated by the invisible being called the society :-)


There you are :-). Nice to see you here.

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