It looks like, accoridng to experts, having dirty towels is something that is rivaling the dirt on our toilets! Yes, we know it sounds gross and this is the very reason for which we want to share what we recently learned.
Shocking truth about dirty towels
Did you know that even seemingly clean or lightly used bath towels can harbor a lot of bacteria? This can be especially concerning in a humid bathroom environment. Bacteria found on towels can lead to skin diseases, hair loss, and urinary tract infections.
They can even spread drug-resistant bacteria that can be fatal. Most of the bacteria on towels actually come from our own bodies, faces, and hands. With the high humidity in bathrooms, this creates a perfect environment for rapid bacterial growth. Even towels that appear clean to the naked eye can contain tens of thousands of bacteria, which can be a serious health risk.
Here are the three effects on your health that dirty towels can have.
1. Breeding and spreading bacteria
It’s important to know that bath towels can quickly accumulate a high amount of bacteria. According to a test conducted by a Japanese TV program called “Non Stop,” freshly washed towels had a bacterial count of 190,000.
However, after only one day of use, the number increased to a staggering 17 million, which is almost 90 times more than the initial count. After three days of use, the bacterial count skyrocketed to 87 million and even reached 94 million on towels that were used for a week without washing.
This information might seem alarming, but it’s important to be aware of these facts to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy.
The director of Tokyo’s Hygiene & Microbiology Research Center, Noritoshi Ri, further explained on the program that the bacterial count on a towel after a week of use can surpass 10 billion, which is equivalent to the number of bacteria found in a drainage pipe. It’s crucial to maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness to avoid any potential health risks.
2. Causing skin disease
According to William Chao, a certified toxicologist and professor at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan, leaving towels unwashed for three days can result in a build-up of germs. He warns that using such towels for cleaning is akin to wiping oneself with a toilet.
Aside from E. coli, which is typically found in toilets, other types of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and Legionella can thrive in different physical conditions.
Using unclean towels can lead to skin problems such as allergies, hair loss, and folliculitis.
Sharing towels is a common practice among couples and families with children, but it can be dangerous as one person’s infection can spread to others through the shared towel. This can result in a cycle of mutual and repeated infections. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot and viral warts are particularly prone to being spread through shared towels.
3. Raising death risks
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2003 investigated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among players and staff of a professional football team.
This type of Staphylococcus aureus is resistant to common antibiotics like oxacillin, penicillin, amoxicillin, and cephalosporin. The study revealed that players sharing saunas, whirlpools, therapy equipment, and the playing field can facilitate the transmission of infection, especially when they frequently share towels to wipe their sweat, hands, and faces.
Factors that contribute to the spread of infection include frequent skin abrasions among players, a lack of regular access to hand hygiene for trainers providing wound care, skipping showers before the use of communal whirlpools, and sharing towels.
The “Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System” report, published by the World Health Organization in late 2022, warns that drug-resistant bacteria are increasingly prevalent in communities and can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections.