And the most germ-ridden object in your house is...


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We have the internet to thank for many things this week; Kim Kardashian’s shiny posterior, expensive celebrity-endorsed gift guides and now towel phobia.

Thanks internet, thanks a lot.

A study has revealed the most germ-ridden object in our homes is not the toilet seat, nor the wooden chopping board, but the humble towel.

But I guess it’s best we know this now. Knowledge equals power, right?

The University of Arizona found that, wait, – you’re not eating right now are you? If so, you might want to drop the sandwich or skip over the next paragraph.

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Ok, ready? The study found that coliform bacteria was present in 89 per cent of the kitchen tea towels tested.  Coliform’s claim to fame? It’s the type of bacteria present in faeces, which can lead to food poisoning and diarrhea. So you’re basically drying your dishes with sh…

The problem appears to be because you tend to wipe up spills and mess with a tea towel, but then use that same tea towel to dry your hands or the dishes.

“You can cross contaminate food when you wipe your hands on a towel and then contaminate other foods or bring your hands to your mouth and infect yourself,” said the author of the study.

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“You might end up washing up a spillage of raw chicken juices, and then next you might wipe some chocolate off a baby’s face with the same towel.”

Bet you’ll never look at your tea towel the same way again, huh?

But before you start throwing your tea towels in the washing machine (a cycle of 90ºC or higher, please) you should also know that your bath towels aren’t safe either. That nasty other germ, E. coli was found in 25.6 per cent of those tested.

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“With face and bath towels you may spread bacteria and viruses among family members who use the same towels,” he told ABC News.


“…As an extreme, someone could wipe their backside and then those organisms would be on the towel, perhaps a child or someone with a diarrheal illness.

“The towel would be used to wipe a face then you’ve got that faecal-oral link that leads to infection.”


So how can you avoid drying yourself with germ-infested towels? Health experts say to wash towels at least once a week, wash on a cycle above 90 degrees to kill germs and soaking tea towels in bleach for two minutes is the most effective way to reduce bacteria.

How often do you wash your towels?