Bro alert: Turns out, beer pong is a pretty gross pasttime. Researchers at Clemson University contaminated ping-pong balls with a non-contagious form of e.coli bacteria to find out how likely it was to end up contaminating the dudes playing. Their odds? 100%. It makes sense when you consider the fact that the pong balls typically end up on the floor, on the table, and in the hands of your not particularly hygenic buddies.
If you still want to throw back to your college days with a rousing game of pong, you’d be wise to play inside. Specifically, on a carpeted floor. The researchers also analyzed ping-pong balls from beer pong games played in various locations and found the balls that had been used for outdoor games had the highest level of contaminants. In other words, playing a good old-fashioned game of beer pong on your porch or in your backyard is pretty germy (think: outdoor BBQ’s where perhaps the ball picks up some bacteria from the raw burger patties, or lands in some dog poop.)
Minimize your odds of getting sick by setting up your pong table in the living room—on carpet. The researchers found about half as many contaminants on balls played on carpeted surfaces. Or, play pong with one of these beers made from healthy ingredients.