Did you know that simple household items like tea towels could be making you ill? Using the same tea towel repeatedly puts you and others at increased risk of unpleasant illnesses like food poisoning, diarrhoea, stomach pain and even meningitis. A tea towel that is used over and again without being washed can harbour some pretty nasty bacteria, such as E.coli. Other nasties include traces of faecal matter and the meningitis-causing bacteria staphylococcus aureus.
The scientific study that took place involving the tea towels saw 100 of them used repeatedly for a month without being washed. Half of them had bacteria growth and more than a third had coliform growth, the family of bacteria that E.coli belongs to. Whether in your workplace or at home, keeping an ordered and clean kitchen where cross-contamination is kept to a minimum will ensure everyone stays happy and healthy. Get help with your Gloucester Office Cleaning today.
How many people were using the tea towel affected the number of microbes found on it. Other factors affecting the microbial load included whether meat was prepared or eaten in the vicinity, how the tea towels were being used and whether they remained damp or were allowed to dry between uses. However, don’t start to fear your tea towels as there are small things you can do to lessen the likelihood of making yourself or others poorly.
- Always let a tea towel dry out completely in between uses. This won’t always be easy as a towel’s primary function is to dry things so will naturally get damp. However, E.coli was much more prevalent on the material when they were left in a damp condition. Wring them out fully and then hang them up somewhere sunny and warm to dry thoroughly.
- Consider adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. Having meat in the kitchen does increase the risk of bacterial growth on tea towels. Always wash your hands properly after handling raw meat and on drying your hands, consider putting the tea towel straight in the wash and using a fresh one. Meat contamination can get onto vegetarian dishes with shared tea towels.
- Never use a tea towel for more than one purpose. For example, if you wipe up a spill on the floor, don’t then use the same cloth to dry the cutlery. Often cutlery is best left to drip-dry in the drainer anyway.
- Consider using paper towels instead. There is no risk of bacterial growth or cross-contamination in something you use and immediately discard.
- Wash your tea towels more often at 60 degrees and have them thoroughly dry before using.
- Think about using a work or family tea towel for no more than one day before washing and replacing with a clean one.