How dirty is your kitchen towel?

Researchers at Dirty Truth at the University of Mauritius collected 100 tea towels and checked bacterial growth. They also found that the more the kitchen towel was used to clean utensils, dry hands, hold hot utensils and clean surfaces, the more bacteria it contained compared to a paper towel. Scientists collected 100 tea towels that had been used for a month and identified the type and amount of bacteria present. Of the towels collected, 49 tested positive for bacterial growth.

A selection of these towels also grew staphylococcal bacteria (staphylococci) and E. coli, which can cause food poisoning. A new study suggests that kitchen towels are teeming with bacteria that can cause food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses. Researchers grew bacteria from 100 dishcloths after one month of use to determine the type and amount of bacterial growth.

They found that 49% of the towels had growth of bacteria that are normally found in or on the human body. New research suggests that tea towels are a hotbed for germs that could make you and your family sick. Researchers at the University of Mauritius tested 100 tea towels that had been used for a month and found that many carried pathogens that could cause food poisoning. There might be something lurking in your tea towels.

Wet cloth in a warm kitchen is the perfect environment for invisible bacterial colonies to grow and multiply. Baughn also points out that it's important to remember that if you cut while cooking, don't take the dishcloth you used to dry food or clean potentially contaminated surfaces. People don't need to obsess over their tea towels, she says, but it's a good idea to keep them as clean as possible. While not as obvious as a spaghetti-stained countertop, tea towels can be some of the dirtiest items in your kitchen.

The findings are consistent with previous research showing that towels and other kitchen items can be reservoirs of bacteria that cause foodborne illness. As the kitchen is the place where food is prepared, it is very important to keep harmful germs away from food. Between preparing meals, eating and handling dirty dishes, most kitchens need cleaning after each use. The study suggests that bacteria found in multi-purpose kitchen towels when handling meat products could be a source of cross-contamination, which could lead to food poisoning.

Bacteria are attracted to warm and humid environments, making the kitchen one of the most germy rooms in the house. Coli is commonly found in human feces, suggesting that poor hygiene and fecal contamination have reached the kitchen. A recent study by the University of Mauritius, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology this week, found that depending on family size, tea towels had the potential to cause food poisoning. In addition to washing tea towels frequently, some simple ways to reduce the likelihood of bacteria building up in the kitchen include washing your hands, using paper towels, and storing wet tea towels in places where they can air dry quickly.

Gwendolyn Steckler
Gwendolyn Steckler

Total gamer. Beer expert. Unapologetic tv fanatic. Total zombie geek. Lifelong tvaholic.

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