When it comes time to do laundry, the easiest thing to do is throw everything into the washing machine, set it, and forget it. Of course, we all know this method doesn’t work for every laundry item, like sorting out our delicates, darks, and lights. But you might be surprised to learn we should be washing kitchen and bath towels in separate loads, too.
A study published in Food Protection Trends looked at the levels of bacteria found in 82 hand towels used around the kitchen. About 89 percent of them contained Coliform bacteria and 25.6 percent had traces of E. coli. So, it’s safe to say that your favorite all-purpose kitchen cloths aren’t exactly cleanest. Think about it: You use them to clean up spills and to take things out of the oven like lasagna, which can leave behind messy food stains.
Bacteria builds up over time, so if you’re not washing them often, throwing them into the washing machine with bath towels or other laundry items creates a situation where cross contamination can easily occur. The USDA warns against the cross containment of certain kitchen items, including towels, as they can be a source of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Putting them into separate loads prevents this from happening while still getting them clean and safe to use.
In addition to washing towels separately, washing them properly is another important key to keeping them clean. Use your washing machine’s hot water setting and add a bacteria-killing laundry sanitizer like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive (Buy on Amazon, $9.97) to the each load. Similar to the sheets on your bed, make sure you’re washing your kitchen and bath towels every single week.
As much as we use them for everyday household tasks, our towels should remain clean as possible. This easy trick will not only ensure that your kitchen towels stay clean, but will help keep your spa-like bath towels from spreading around harmful germs and bacteria!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.