kitchen

The Dirtiest Part of Your Kitchen

Bacteria love your dish towels.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE GIST
Researchers tested 100 kitchen towels that had been used for one month and found that half of them harbored bacteria. Of those dirty cloths, 37 percent were contaminated with E. coli and 14 percent with Staphylococcus aureus (staph). The scientists presented their findings at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting.
EXPERT INSIGHT
Towels used for multiple purposes—like cleaning up spills, wiping off hands, and drying utensils—were dirtier than those that had just one designated job, says study author Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the department of health sciences at the University of Mauritius in Moka, Mauritius. 

E. coli and S. aureus, which can cause food poisoning, were more likely to cling to dishcloths in kitchens where meat was present than in vegetarian homes. The bacteria also gravitated toward moist towels.
THE BOTTOM LINE
To nix bacterial growth or at least cut it down, use each towel for one task and wash them if you notice they're damp. Biranjia-Hurdoyal recommends swapping used towels for fresh ones every day if you regularly eat meat and every two days if you're vegetarian.