I made mash potatoes two nights ago and I left the pot that I made them in on top of the stove for two days before washing it.

I’ve been sick and got around to it today. The majority of the potato had been scrapped out two days ago and there was just a small a mount of potato left.

After washing the pot in the sink with other dishes I googled dangers of leaving mash potato out and it came up with botulism.

Now I’m terrified because the pot was covered by a wooden cutting board which would have stopped oxygen and I didn’t eat it but I would have spread it to my other dishes in the sink and I also have a cut on my finger and it says you can get botulism from cuts.

Now I’m terrified,

  • 2
    I voted to close this because we don't give health or medical advice on this site. For your peace of mind, wound botulism is quite rare, sometimes occurring in illicit drug users, or people with serious injuries, like motorcycle accidents, not from washing dishes. If you are sick, see a doctor.
    – moscafj
    Jun 25, 2022 at 10:39
  • Other than the wound botulism part this is a straightforward food safety question, so on topic.
    – GdD
    Jun 27, 2022 at 16:35
  • 2
    Relax @Aaa, just clean the pot thoroughly and don't eat any of the potatoes left in it.
    – GdD
    Jun 27, 2022 at 16:46
  • Putting a cutting board on top of a pot doesn't stop air from getting in, lol. If this sort of thing happens to you regularly, go see a therapist about your misplaced anxiety.
    – eps
    Jun 27, 2022 at 22:35
  • To give an idea of how big the difference is, an oxygen molecule is about 0.1 nanometers, the gaps and valleys in a cutting board, even if it is brand new, are 10,000+ nm wide.
    – eps
    Jun 27, 2022 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


Botulism is an extremely rare illness, of which the majority of cases are in infants. It is virtually unheard-of to contact foodborne botulism except through amateur food preservation (canning, confiting, etc.) which is done incorrectly.

Food poisoning in general is a much more prevalent form of illness, and kills many more people. So do please try to follow standard food safety guidelines. And if you do want to try preserving foods, make sure you exactly follow known-safe recipes. Beyond that, botulism is not something you need to worry about.

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