How often do you wash kitchen towels? Experts say not enough

How often do you wash kitchen towels? Experts say not enough

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Where is the dirtiest place in your house? Popular answers might be the kitchen floor, sink or maybe the toilet.

Truth is, it may be your hand towels, experts say.

When moisture from wiping the counters or drying your hands collects and adds to bits of food residue, it's the perfect breeding ground for nasty germs.

"They should be used once, and then thrown in the laundry," said David DiMario owner of Grand Strand Linen.

He's been in the business for 10 years. Part of his job is to know about how to properly clean linens, and the hazards of dirty ones.

"Most people have two types of towels in the kitchen. They have the one that's sitting over the edge of the sink they use to dry their hands. And they have the one they kind of rinse out and use to wipe down the counter."

But that's a huge no-no. Leaving a towel sitting around and using it over and over, spreads and collects bacteria.

"Any towels that are used in the kitchen, at the end of the day they should immediately go in the laundry," DiMario said. "[Used dish towels] contain bacteria, they hold possible salmonella, E. coli. It's not safe, especially with small children. You could easily have bacteria festering in your home."

Washing in warm water without bleach does not kill that bacteria.

The water temperature in your washer would need to be 140 degrees to kill germs, but if you have kids it's dangerous to have water that hot. That's why bleach needs to be used.

A recent report from Huffington post cites research by the University of Arizona.
It says 89 percent of kitchen towels contain coliform bacteria, because they're not washed enough or at the correct temperature with bleach.

Another thing, when you spray disinfectants and wipe down your counters, you need to let it sit on the surface for two minutes otherwise it won't clean.

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