There's a pretty good chance your kitchen towel is crawling with bacteria

12 June, 2018, 20:45 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Your tea towel is absolutely disgusting and could give you food poisoning

"Moist towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning". "Many E. coli, even if you ingest them, you wouldn't get sick".

But foodies, beware: If you're not careful about how often you wash your towels, your kitchen rags could become a breeding ground for unsafe, stomach-sickening germs.

Repeated use of kitchen towels can attract pathogens and put the households at a risk of food poisoning, says a new study.

The findings are consistent with previous research showing that towels and other kitchen items can be reservoirs for bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses.

New research suggests our kitchen towels hold on to a lot of gross stuff.

Coliforms (Escherichia coli) was found to be higher in humid towels, multipurpose towels and in towels from families having non-vegetarian diets.

In addition, towels used for multiple purposes - including wiping utensils, drying hands and wiping surfaces - grew more bacteria than towels used for a single goal, the researchers found.

Of the 49 towels that carried pathogens, nearly three-quarters grew coliform bacteria (a type that may include E. coli); 36.7 percent grew Enterococcus; and 14.3 percent grew staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph that can cause serious infections. Bacteria also marked their presence on towels with traces of meat on it.

S. aureus was isolated at a higher rate from families of lower socio-economic status and those with children.


Researchers from the University of Mauritius tested 100 kitchen towels that had been used for a month and found that 49 percent had bacterial growth.

Tea towels that aren't washed regularly or left to dry between uses carry nasty bugs like E.coli and staph bacteria.

Food safety experts have long recommended switching to a fresh kitchen towel every time you use one.

Coliform and S aureus were detected at significantly higher prevalence from families with non-vegetarian diets.

Use paper towels once.

Kitchen towels that don't air dry are filled with nasty germs.

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets.

According to lead author of the study, Dr Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, the presence of coliforms indicate that there is a possibility of bad hygiene and fecal contamination. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen", she said.

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