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Does a Flavor Saver Soul Patch Actually Save Flavor?

It does! But you better think twice before licking it like a lollipop.

As the epithet suggests, flavor savers — commonly known as soul patches — have a unique capacity for saving flavors. This could be a good thing: Want another taste of that chili dog you had for lunch? Just tongue-punch your flavor saver, bro! This could also be a horrifyingly disgusting thing: Finally kissed your crush, and she ran away screaming? Aww bro, she must have tasted that chili dog you had for lunch!

But is this flavorful reputation even a real thing, or just another odd nickname for the oh-so-contentious soul patch?

For better or worse, flavor savers do indeed have the capacity to save flavors.

From a microbiological perspective, Jason “The Germ Guy” Tetro, author of The Germ Files, explains that aromatic chemicals in our foods, such as those in peppermint, garlic and coconut oil, are especially likely to become trapped within the proteins that make up the hairs that then make up flavor savers. “Aromatic chemicals tend to have water-repellent sections that can attach and coat the hair shaft,” he says. “Sometimes this attraction can be tight enough that soap needs to be used to remove the scent and flavor from the hair.”

Therefore, if you messily chow down on some garlic bread, for example, you can expect your flavor saver to taste — and smell — of garlic until you give it a good wash.

But before you go licking your flavor saver like a lollipop, did we mention that flavor savers are also havens for bacteria, debris, dead skin cells and literal shit? Just as flavor savers save flavors, they also save most everything else they come into contact with, and unfortunately that includes all sorts of sickening stuff. It would be wise of you, then, to wash your flavor saver often and avoid licking it altogether (seriously, just stop — it’s creepy).

In conclusion, I guess you just have to make another chili dog (and maybe find a new crush, too).