Do you wash your tea towel after every single use? New research has suggested that you might want to consider popping yours in the wash a lot more regularly...
According to scientists at the University of Mauritius, your tea towels could easily put you and your family at risk of.
After analysing 100 tea towels that had been used for a month, the team concluded that bacteria including E.coli – which causes everything from food poisoning to– was most likely to be found on dish cloths with multiple uses.
Meaning if you're the kind of person who uses your tea towel to dry your hands, clean surfaces and dry your pots and pans, then you might be in trouble...
As well as this, damp towels were found to be more likely to harbour bacteria than dry ones, while the team also found that bacteria levels tend to rise in larger households, particularly those with children.
Meanwhile, vegetarians might have a slight advantage, as the team discovered there was a 'significantly higher prevalence' of some bacteria on tea towels from meat-eating households.
Speaking about the findings – which will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology – study leader Dr. Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal said : 'Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels.
'We also found that diet, type of use and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for
Dr Biranjia-Hurdoyal continued: 'Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged/ Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen.'
Speaking about the findings, the 's head of testing, Verity Mann, recommended washing your tea towel regularly to avoid food poisoning.
'Tea towels can end up being used for anything or everything in your kitchen and, therefore, a haven for bacteria,' she said.
'We advise changing them every day or two and try not to wipe your hands on them, especially to dry hands after washing them – or else the bacteria can transfer back on your hands. Ideally, wash them at 60oC. '