I know most of us hate laundry but according to an article in Time magazine, towels should be washed every two days. I know, you bought the dark ones so stains and dirt won’t show up quite so easily; I did the same. This trick was supposed to make our lives easier, right? You do not simply use a towel one time. That is blasphemy.
The thing is, those towels are crawling with bacteria. The study conducted by Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, found coliform (bacteria found in human feces) in 90% of bathroom towels and E. coli in 14% of bathroom towels. These things are nasty whether we can actually see the evidence or not. And we can all confirm sharing towels with our kids elevates the disgusting factor. To them, it’s not a piece of cloth for wiping off their freshly scrubbed body parts but are also booger catchers, work well for cleaning up pee off the floor, and are a good place to store scabs and poop specs.
Soft towels are supposed to feel like hugs and unicorn kisses. Those hugs are laced with bacteria that like to chill in the loo. After all, bathrooms provide the perfect environment for that shit with their warm, damp climates. The good news is that even though your towels are crawling with germs, it probably won’t physically harm you. Even if we come into contact with the bacteria, we will be fine. Our bodies are adapted to being able to live in this environment with all of these microbes around.
While we may not get sick, we could risk infection if any bacteria gets into an open cut or wound. So when you cut your leg shaving in the shower, maybe don’t dry that area off unless you know you towels are free of poop particles.
The best way to protect yourself is to wash kitchen and bathroom towels often. People should wash any bathroom towels after about two days of use, particularly if you have young children in the house. And not just any rinse will do. Bacteria can survive regular detergent, so use hot water and a product with activated oxygen bleach to thoroughly clean towels. You may be able to go slightly longer before washing if you’re careful about keeping towels very dry.
As long as it’s drying completely between use, there’s almost no chance of passing bacteria from one person to another. Still, you’ll want to wash them at least once a week. And if they start to smell, you know you’ve let them go too long. The bottom line is that if you stay on top of cleaning both your hands and your towels regularly, experts say it’s very unlikely they’ll make you sick!