General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Do you still, or have you ever licked an envelope?

Asked by tinyfaery (42636points) June 27th, 2009

A lot of people at my work use glue sticks to seal envelopes, some even use tape. I hate bothering with all that so I just lick them, like I always have.

Is this a really bad idea? Is it worse than the germs on my keyboard or my phone? Do you lick envelopes? If not, is it because of germs?

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31 Answers

casheroo's avatar

I find the taste of it to be disgusting. I make my husband do all the licking. pun sort of intended ;)
But, he bought these envelopes that have tape on them, that I remove and it’s already sticky. I don’t trust them though, they don’t stick as strongly.
I’m a semi germ freak, and the germ factor when it comes to envelopes never even crossed my mind.

jrpowell's avatar

I do if it just one or two. But I use a damp sponge if I have to do a lot of them. I don’t care about germs.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m like you tinyfaery, I lick, I always have and I’m not ashamed.

chyna's avatar

I have seen a report about bugs, especially roaches crawling over envelopes in storage places. I don’t know if it was true or not, but it made me quit licking envelopes. The report said they left eggs and feces on the envelopes. Also, there was that Seinfeld episode where George bought the cheap wedding invitations and his fiance licked the envelopes and died from some type of poisoning on them. I’m just paranoid.

row4food's avatar

I rather like licking envelopes. I’ve never really had a problem with the taste. Some are gross but most are just fine.

When I worked at a hotel and had to stuff the hundreds of confirmation letters every few weeks or so, I would use a small sponge thing that was attached to a vial of water. It was much easier than licking.

inatizzy's avatar

Yes I do, not many as everything now days can be done on line. The bad thing about it is… the glue comes from horses. Tis sad but true. Ever hear of a horse going to “the Glue Factory”

Jeruba's avatar

What? Of course. I miss licking stamps.

cookieman's avatar

I lick ‘em.

but I buy them dinner first

Harp's avatar

@inatizzy I’m happy to report that animal glues aren’t used for envelope flaps. The glues are made from synthetic gums based on dextrine, a sugar derivitive.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I’ve never licked envelopes. The idea is disgusting to me. Usually I’ll run my finger under some water, and then run it along the sticky part. That’s what my kindergarten teacher taught me to do. I still remember. If I’m really desperate, I’ll lick my finger, and then run it along the envelope.

rooeytoo's avatar

I so rarely have any use for them anymore. Almost all correspondence, bill paying and the like is done electronically. And if not, I buy stamps and envelopes that you just peel and stick! In the past when I used them prolifically, I never thought about the germs, just hated the yukky taste.

I love these questions, it’s the sort of thing that doesn’t really come up in my mind, but when someone brings it up, I am really curious about the answers! GQ!

Jeruba's avatar

I prefer to pay bills by mail, and I still send handwritten thank-you notes, greeting cards, and occasional actual letters by mail. And manuscripts. Postal mail isn’t obsolete yet, thank goodness. That’s one of those systems we can’t afford to have break down.

cyn's avatar

Co-worker who states that his wife (who is a nurse) witnessed a situation involving someone who licked an envelope and then “hatched” a cockroach from her tongue. Supposedly while licking an egg-infested glue strip on an envelope, she got a paper cut. This then got “infected” but when she went to the hospital to have it examined, the doctor made an incision to release the pus and a roach crawled out. here

Jeruba's avatar

You do know that your link labels this story as false—a hoax?

bythebay's avatar

Here is an option

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I might have an overzealous tongue but I always got cuts and so stopped in favor of using a damp piece of sponge.

SirBailey's avatar

At work I’d never lick. I just think about all the hands that might have handled the envelope.

juwhite1's avatar

I’m a licker. Always have been. I don’t worry about the germs, and nasty tasting envelopes are pretty rare. I guess I just like the satisfaction of sealing the deal with my tongue instead of pulling together extra supplies to keep everything sterile and tasteless!

DominicX's avatar

Yeah, I hate licking envelopes. I don’t like the way it feels and the way it tastes is gross. Also, the idea of it kind of grosses me out. I’ve only done it a couple of times and I just try to do it as little as possible.

whatthefluther's avatar

I only buy “peel & stick” envelops and stamps, but for the occasional provided return envelop, I’m a licker and don’t think anything of it (they are very rare…most of my recurring bills are on “auto-pay” and the balance I pay on-line, so were talking invitations and things like that).

knitfroggy's avatar

I used to lick them until I got a paper cut on my tongue. It smarted! Now I buy the ones sticker ones.

timothykinney's avatar

Cockroach feet.

inatizzy's avatar

Thanks Harp.. Sorry I was mis -informed. So…. where do the horses go that go to glue factories? Whats up with that? I know they do as I live in Ok and horses are going away fast to the glue factory as people cant afford to feed them any more.

inatizzy's avatar

Perhaps I should say slaughter house rather than glue factory.

hug_of_war's avatar

I lick, I live life on the wild side.

augustlan's avatar

I’m a licker. The last box of envelopes I bought were self-stick ones, but not on purpose. They’ll probably last me forever, too. When I had to seal hundreds, I used a sealer thingy.

bythebay's avatar

@inatizzy: Here is an excerpt from an article pertaining to the “glue factory” reference:

It’s mostly used as a figure of speech these days, but yes, horses typically were sent to the glue factory or rendering plant back in the days when they were mostly used as work animals. These days, it’s more common (an undocumented source says 90% of all domestic horses) for unwanted horses to be sent to a slaughterhouse if still alive, or a rendering plant (AKA the knackers, the knackery) if deceased.

Animal (origin) glue is made from connective tissue, found in hoofs, bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage in vertebrate animals.

Rendering plants are the recycling links in the food chain. They take fat and bone trimmings from grocery stores, waste scraps from restaurants, and dead animals. They cook the meat and fat products together and grind it up. It’s used for animal feed and non-edible products like soap, various lubricants, and of course glue—the heavy kind that’s used to glue furniture together, for example.

But as I say, the rendering plant isn’t the only possible destination for a horse that’s outlived its usefulness. Horsemeat is considered a delicacy in some countries. Some slaughterhouses will happily accept and process horsemeat if it’s commercially feasible. I’ve read that they buy horses in the United States for about 50 cents a pound and sell the horsemeat overseas for about $15 a pound. The Bureau of Land Management periodically comes under fire for its wild horse/burro adoption program as reports of “adopted” animals going to the slaughterhouse surface. See for more information.

Some other sources I used in compiling this report: /981109/9hors.htm m/mcmurry/sec02/02-eanimals.htm (This site contains the memoirs of a man who was raised on a family farm, and I found it fascinating.)

There are many references online, this came from The Straight Dope.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I use the self-seal ones.

mbubbles's avatar

I usually trick my sister into doing it for me, but if I have to, I do lick envelopes. I find the taste revolting and discusting.

SirBailey's avatar

Remember what happened to George’s intended on Seinfeld when she licked the discount wedding envelopes?

vegelizabeth's avatar

I used to lick envelopes until i heard about Some lady who was licking an envelope to get ready to send it. Nothing special right. well While she was licking it she cut her tounge open, and in the glue for the envelope there was spider eggs. These “spider eggs” supposedly got into her cut and the spider eggs grew and developed into spiders, i don’t know how true it is, but it freaked me out and i haven’t done it since.

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