Ultimately, however, when the threads of a towel begin to pull or you notice a lingering smell, despite careful washing, it's time to throw it away; you can expect body and hand towels to last anywhere from two to five years, depending on their quality. Washing cloths, on the other hand, need to be changed every year or two, Winch notes. The USDA recommends that tea towels be changed frequently, and a common recommendation is to change them daily. However, it depends on how often the towel is used and what it is used for in the kitchen.
For example, if a kitchen towel was used to wipe raw juices from meat, chicken or seafood, it should be immediately put on clothes and use a clean one. Change tea towels every few days and wash them with bleach between uses. Cohen also points out that you should avoid using kitchen towels to clean the surfaces where meat is being prepared, opt for Clorox paper towels or wipes instead. You'll know it's time to buy new cloths when smells persist even after washing.
Tea towels should be washed regularly to avoid harmful bacteria. To help prevent the spread of germs, tea towels should be changed at least once a week, but preferably every few days. Wash the kitchen towels on the HOT cycle of the washing machine and make sure they dry completely at high temperature. Researchers at the University of Mauritius grew 100 multi-purpose tea towels after a month of use, without washing them.
However, none of these methods completely eliminate germs, so to be safer, throw away the kitchen sponge approximately every week, or when it becomes slimy or stinky, whichever comes first. Bacteria spread throughout the kitchen when that same towel is used to clean the countertops, kitchen table, and stove top. Kitchen sponges are a great tool for cleaning sinks and spills, but they can build up bacteria very quickly. A study by the American Society for Microbiology showed that half of the dishcloths analyzed contained some form of bacterial growth, such as E.
So, for germs, we're talking about 10 million bacteria per square inch of a kitchen sponge and about one million per square inch on a tea towel. Coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus can survive and persist for up to 16 days with a kitchen sponge and up to 13 days with microfiber towels.