Research presented at the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta, Georgia has shown that various factors can impact the number of microbes in kitchen towels.
Researchers from the University of Mauritius tested kitchen towels, revealing that 49 percent of the towels in the study had bacterial growth that increased in number based on the number of children and family members. Towels used for multiple purposes such as drying dishes and hands had a higher number of bacteria compared to single use towels.
Some of the types of bacteria present included E. Coli and Staphylococcus. According to Paul Dawson, a food scientist at the Clemson University, these are the types of bacteria that can cause “food-borne illnesses.”
Other factors included the socioeconomic status of the family and if families consumed meat, since the previously raw meat could have contacted the towel indirectly at some point.
Research on bacteria in towels has been done as early as 1978, in the study “A Bacteriological Survey of the Domestic Environment.” The researchers in that study looked at various locations around households to determine the presence and level of bacteria on each surface. This also included kitchen towels with 22 of 47 samples having staphylococcus.
Solutions to the issue include cleaning and drying kitchen towels out regularly, especially with larger families and families with children.
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