Are You Washing Your Dishcloths Enough? Probably Not

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When you're in the kitchen prepping a hurried sandwich or slow-cooking multiple courses for a dinner party, think about the amount of time you typically spend there and how often you turn to wipe your hands on your dishcloth or use it to soak up a spill. Like most of us, you most likely use it several times, grabbing the driest part of the towel. However, to prevent the spread of bacteria, you should be laundering them at least every five days.

Your kitchen, even more so than your bathroom, is a source of the most bacteria in your home. A University of Arizona study (per TidyMom) looked at a sampling of 82 dish towels and found E. coli in one out of four towels and fecal contamination in nine out of ten. Yikes. That right there is probably enough to get you to immediately change how often you're washing your dishcloths. And chances are, it's not frequent enough. You should never clean a kitchen counter with a used dish towel — and we bet now you know why.

The suggested frequency for cleaning your dishcloth

Our recommendation is that first of all, you may want to invest in a few additional dishcloths because it will be to your advantage to swap them out often. There are many to choose from but Aunt Martha's Dish Towels are one good bulk option. They have a reputation as both absorbent and lint-free. In terms of washing, increasing the frequency might require more effort than you've been used to, but it's worth it. You'll drastically reduce the amount of bacteria.

We suggest that after each use, let's say when you're done with a meal and you've used it a few times, hand wash the cloth with hot water and either the dish or hand soap on your sink. Hang it so that it can dry completely. In addition to hand washing, you'll want to completely swap it out for a new towel every three to five days, making sure that you launder the used ones in the machine in hot water. Also, ensure you toss them into a hot dryer right away to kill off any potentially lingering bacteria.