Is your tea towel making your household sick?

By Mariam Digges

Is your tea towel making your household sick?
Researchers in the US found that 90 per cent of tea towels are covered in bacteria.

Studying towels across five major cities in the US and Canada, the University of Arizona team detected coliform bacteria in almost 90 per cent of tea towels.

The researchers discovered that by wiping dishes, the bacteria was spreading swiftly throughout households.

Found in the aquatic environment, and in soil and vegetation, coliform bacterial is often present in high numbers in animal feces. While not harmful on their own, their presence often signifies that other organisms of fecal origin, including food poisoning bugs, may also be alive.

The Arizona team also found enteric bacteria in 89 per cent of the towels and E. coli in 25.6 per cent of kitchen tea-towels.

“The common occurrence of enteric bacteria in kitchen sponges and dishcloths suggests that they can play a role in the cross-contamination of foods, fomites and hands by foodborne pathogens,” the team wrote.

Dr Reynolds suggested washing towels after each use to keep them clean, or better yet, dipping them in diluted bleach and hanging them to dry in the sun.

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