It’s no secret that gross germs are lurking everywhere, and according to a new study, when it comes to your dishtowels, things are particularly nasty. In fact, the study out of University of Mauritius finds that some kitchen towels can get so bad that they carried pathogens that could cause food poisoning.
The study looked at 100 kitchen towels that were used for a month, and found that 49% had bacterial growth, or more specifically 36.7% grew coliform bacteria, which could include E. coli; 36.7% grew Enterococcus; and 14.3% grew staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph that can lead to serious infections.
Not surprising, kitchen towels used by large and extended families, as well as families with children, contained even more bacteria, and what foods people ate also contributed to the bacteria. Humid towels, like say ones used to clean surfaces and dry hands, are also more likely to harbor coliforms than dry ones.
Even with these numbers, researchers insist folks shouldn’t be worried about getting sick from their dishtowels, but there are definitely some precautions to take. First off, avoid using towels for more than one purpose, and, of course, wash them. As for how often, experts say every day. And if you know that towel is contaminated by animal or meat drippings, change it out immediately.