Multipurpose towel can have higher bacteria count

  • Multipurpose towel can have higher bacteria count

Multipurpose towel can have higher bacteria count

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

A study presented at the annual meeting for the American Society for Microbiology, which concludes Monday, found the towels could carry pathogens potentially leading to food poisoning.

Some new research, courtesy of the University of Mauritius, has some bad news for frequent users of kitchen towels: they're battleships of sneaky, invading microbial monsters. The risk of having coliforms (Escherichia coli) was higher from humid towels than the dried ones, from multipurpose towels than single-use ones and from families on non-vegetarian diets.

Specifically, the researchers found that towels used for a variety of tasks - such as wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils or cleaning surfaces - had more bacteria than towels used for one task. Out of the 49 samples which were positive for bacterial growth, 36.7 percent grew coliforms, 36.7 percent Enterococcus spp, and 14.3 percent S. aureus.

Although staph can indeed cause foodborne illness when it's found in food, the bacterium is also very common on skin. It also found tea towels in the homes of larger families and those of a lower socio-economic background had higher rates of bacteria growth.

Of the towels collected, 49% had bacterial growth, which increased in number with extended family, presence of children and increasing family size. They also determined the bacterial load on the towels.

Your tea towel is a filthy rag covered in bacteria which can make you poo through the eye of a needle for days, scientists have revealed. How often do you wash them? For one thing, the researchers suggest you avoid using kitchen towels for multiple purposes.

All three food poisoning bugs, which can be fatal for the elderly, were much more prevalent among meat-eating families. Using disposable or paper towels can prevent the risk of spreading of bacteria.

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.

The presence of potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could lead to food poisoning through cross-contamination.

"Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged", Dr. Biranjia-Hurdoyal said.

For the study, Biranjia-Hurdoyal and her colleagues sampled 100 kitchen towels that had been used for one month.