Why Washed Towels Are Incubators For Bacteria


How often do you change your towels? Probably very rare, because the towels are much dirtier than you think. The problem is not the visible traces of dirt, but invisible bacteria. They are collected on the towel as in a trap. However, no one has to be afraid of the large number of germs. The body is prepared to live in peaceful coexistence with a myriad of microbes.

It is dangerous in the bathroom and in the bathroom because the hands come in contact with the stool. Thus, bacteria coli and salmonella are brought to the towels. Escherichia coli is one of the most common causative agents of infectious diseases. In the dark, damp and warm environment of the bathroom, the germs multiply magnificently.

Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, found in a study that almost 90 percent of towels are contaminated with coliform bacteria and about 14 percent, even with Escherichia coli. Most people do not wash their hands so well that it has a disinfectant effect. The bacteria survive and are wiped with the remaining moisture in the towel. "If you dry yourself in the towel after two days, you'll probably have more Escherichia coli bacteria than put your head in the bathroom," Charles Gerba told Time.

Two days are enough

His advice: frequent and thorough washing. Towels in kitchens and bathrooms should be changed and washed after about two days. Especially when small children live in the house. When they start to smell the towels, they definitely stay hanging for a long time. Microbiologist Philip Tierno of the New York School of Medicine says, "You should not use a bath towel more than three times." And only if it is completely dry in the middle. Because: "A damp towel begins to live."

Bacteria do not like when the towel dries in the middle. If you have a towel warmer, it's on the safe side. In any case, you should give towels the opportunity to dry and spread them and do not hang them wrinkled.

Washing machine: how does the gray mud get into the drum?

Only True 60 Degrees Helps

Normal clothing is not enough for cleaning. A wash temperature of 30 or 40 degrees hardly troubles bacteria. It should also be remembered that most machines are actually washing at a lower temperature for reasons of power consumption than the one in the program. The Stiftung Warentest has already demonstrated years ago, as manufacturers deceive. Instead of the 60 degree set they wash only with 50 or 45 degrees. In the test, none of the 14 machines actually reaches 60 degrees. It should be "real" 60 degrees for towels and underwear. Rapid washing usually works at the specified temperature. Baking cycle detergents and disinfectants have a stronger effect, but are not needed in everyday life. You should not leave the towel stuck for too long on dirty clothes, because even then the germs continue to grow.

No towel sharing

Even with a loaded towel, an infection will not immediately occur. But those who regularly wear "mature" towels will eventually wear it, even if it has minor bruises or abrasions on the hand. And then the danger of infection increases. And of course, the danger also increases when you come into contact with the germs of other people. A one-person home is more secure than an apartment in which different people use towels. Before sharing towels, hygiene teacher Philip Tierno warns: "When the towel is shared with other people, you also come into contact with organisms that your body does not tolerate, such as boils, pimples or even infections."


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