Are your kitchen and bath towels making you sick?


What you have hanging in your bathroom could the biggest source of illness in your house.

Some 50 million people get sick from foodborne illness in a typical year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But restaurants are not the culprit, despite popular perception.

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An unlikely suspect emerges…

Most of the time, that sickness is contracted right in our own homes. One place with potential to get you sick is a kitchen towel being used again and again without being washed. Cross contamination can lead to flourishing colonies of Salmonella and Campylobacter, among other micro-organic nasties.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, there is no conclusive evidence that a dirty dish rag can be the transmitter. The greater issue is the towel you dry off with in the bathroom.

In many families, towels are like community property. A single bath towel may be used again and again before it is washed. I know it’s been that way in my family.

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In our household, we wash all towels once a week. And we tend to use the same towel others have used. But that’s over now. I’m going to have my bath towel, my wife Lane will have hers, and the kids will each have theirs.

‘If everyone is otherwise healthy, a few times a week for a kitchen towel and once or twice a week for a bathroom towel should suffice,’ Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, tells the Wall Street Journal.

Don’t forget: No more sharing, and hot water and detergent are necessary when washing those towels! 


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