Do you use a moist or a dry towel? Do you use different towels for each family member or do you use a common one? How many persons are there is your family? The answers to these questions are significant for the intensity of the pathogens in kitchen towels according to the latest study presented on the American Society for Microbiology meeting during June in Atlanta. The study’s leading author is Susheela D Biranjia-Hurdoyal from the Department of Health Sciences at Mauritius University which has also supported the practical elements of the study.

The study collected kitchen towels which had been used for a period of one month. They analyzed the types and also the number of bacteria from the towels. From the observation, researchers came to the conclusion that half of the towels were containing bacteria. Not only this but the bacteria increased in number with the increase of family members number as well as children or elders being part of the family. We can read what the lead author of the study, Susheela D Biranjia-Hurdoyal, has told according to ScienceDaily:

We also found that diet, type of use and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning.

When someone is using the same towel for different purposes there is an increased chance of bacteria accumulation in that towel. So, if you use the same towel for rubbing your hands, wiping or holding the dishes, cleaning kitchen objects etc., there are going to live a lot of bacteria in the towel which later can lead to food poisoning. Another interesting fact worth mentioning is the fact that dank towels tend to have a larger number of bacteria compared to the dry one. Furthermore, disposable towels have a lower content of bacteria compared to the other above-mentioned towels.

The most common bacteria found on towels are Enterococcus spp and coliforms. The bacteria-contaminated towels had an almost equal presence of these two bacteria by 37% each and also S. Aureus which is present on about 14% of the contaminated towels. There were higher odds that the coliforms bacteria would be present in dank towels, in towels which were used for different purposes and, together with S. Aureus, on families which weren’t vegetarian.

The possibility of food contamination from the use of the above-mentioned towels in the kitchen is very high. Knowing this, families should reduce the usage of these towels and be more aware of the complications this usage may cause, especially in elders and in children.