The Gross Reason You Should Wave -- Not Blow -- Out Your Birthday Candles

Apparently we should be waving -- not blowing -- out the candles on our birthday cakes -- and there's a very good reason why.

You're pretty much spraying your saliva all over a very nice cake that you'll then slice up and serve to your friends and family.

It's true -- a study by Clemson University in South Carolina back in 2017 found that blowing out your candles increases bacteria on the icing of the cake by a whopping 1,400 percent.

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To come to this shudder-inducing conclusion researchers asked participants to chow down on some pizza to get their saliva going then act like it was their party and blow out some candles. They then tested the icing for the level of bacterial contamination, which was shown to have increased in all samples.

The researchers did note that their method wasn't 100 percent precise and that most of the bacteria detected wasn't harmful. The cakes were likely still fine to eat -- unless of course the birthday boy or girl was sick at the time.

Pharmacist Shamir Patel told Metro that most people produce around 0.75 to 1.5 litres of saliva each day and we when do things like blowing out candles saliva particles do leave our mouths.

"Saliva is well known for carrying bacteria and sometimes spreading illnesses, for example, if that person is suffering from a cold," they said.

Patel went on to say that the level of saliva that actually leaves the mouth from a single blow is" minuscule" -- "It's not likely that others who you plan to share your birthday cake with would pick any illnesses up, for example, from you blowing out your candles on the cake," they said.

While it initially looks like one of those revolutionary moments that you realise that 'oh yes that does seem to carry a lot of questionable hygiene risks', in reality, it’s not that much of a big deal.
The wave method

YouTuber Vindog Unleashed captured his "germaphobic" dad extinguishing his birthday candles with a wave of his hand.

We're not kidding -- he swoops his palm down over the top of that cake, creating enough of a breeze to snuff the candles out.

According to the hygiene-focussed dad, blowing out bday candles is "the worst tradition in the history of mankind." Okay then!

Image: YouTuve/Vindog Unleashed.
The Romney method

A clip of U.S. politician Mitt Romney blowing out his birthday candles is currently, well ... blowing up online. The former presidential candidate is seen plucking the candles out of his cake -- which is actually just a pile of Twinkies -- and blowing them out one by one.

Weird, right?

People on Twitter were quick to judge Romney's ~unusual~ method but there was a solid reason behind it, as he later explained to TMZ. The senator explained that he had a bit of a cold and didn’t want to breathe all over the Twinkies that he was going to share with his co-workers.

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Does Mitt's method mean he gets a wish per candle?? Image: Twitter/@MittRomney.

"While it sounds peculiar (mainly because it's not normal to do so), blowing each candle out on your birthday cake individually is actually not at all a bad idea," Patel said.

At the end of the day, Patel said that whether you blow or say no is personal preference.

If you really think about it, spreading your germs over the entire cake does have one upside -- you get to keep the whole thing for yourself.

Or, you can take a leaf out of this pupper's birthday book and ditch the candle formalities altogether.

Feature image: Universal Pictures.