A new study from the University of Arizona finds that some of the most germ-laden items in the home are our towels. In fact, the study finds that coliform bacteria was detected in 89 percent of kitchen dishtowels, and E. coli was found in 25.6 percent.
The study looked at a sampling of towels from households in five major cities across North America.
“You can cross contaminate food when you wipe your hands on a towel and then contaminate other foods or bring your hands to your mouth and infect yourself,” said Charles Gerba, an author of the study and professor at the University of Arizona, according to ABC News. “With face and bath towels you may spread bacteria and viruses among family members who use the same towels.”
The towels also attract and keep germs because they tend to retain moisture for long periods of time.
Of course, there are some fairly simple steps you can take to help eliminate these germs and prevent their spread. The most obvious is to wash your towels often—the ABC News article recommends once every three or four days. You can also use paper towels when preparing food rather than reusable towels.
Do you care as much about germs in the home as in the hospital? More? Also let us know if your opinion of the towel hanging decoratively on your oven handle has changed after seeing this study.