"In this study, we investigated the potential role of kitchen towels in cross-contamination in the kitchen and various factors affecting the microbial profile and load of kitchen towels", said lead author Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, senior lecturer from the Department of Health Sciences at the university.
"Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged". The risk of having coliforms (Escherichia coli) was higher from humid towels than the dried ones, from multipurpose towels than single-use ones and from families on non-vegetarian diets. In the study, multi-purpose towels were more likely to have bad bacteria growing on them, suggesting it's better to keep a towel for cleaning surfaces like tables and countertops separate from your hand towel.
Out of the 49 samples which were positive, more than a third (37%) grew E.coli, or Enterococcus spp and one in seven (14%) S. aureus.
He adds, "while they should be changed daily, when knowingly contaminated by food or meat drippings, etc, change them out for a new towel immediately". It also found tea towels in the homes of larger families and those of a lower socio-economic background had higher rates of bacteria growth.
"Raw meat carries bacteria and then if you throw it on the cutting board and use a towel or sponge to dry that off, it could pick that up", Dawson said.
Tea towels that aren't washed regularly or left to dry between uses carry nasty bugs like E.coli and staph bacteria.
Their thorough research work reveals that the multiple use towel shows the presence of Escherichia coli.
The researchers found that 49 percent of the kitchen towels had bacterial growth, which increased significantly by size of family, extended family, and presence of children.
Researchers from the University of Mauritius collected 100 kitchen towels that had been used for a month, and analysed what was on them in a study presented at the American Society for Microbiology's recent annual meeting.
The experts have recommended that these towels and other regular use cloths in the kitchen should be replaced daily on days of cooking. Hygiene maintenance is vital for families that have more members or have children and elderly she said. Participants were allowed to wash the towels as often as they pleased, according to Infectious Disease News. "There's just a wider range of sources of possible bacteria in the kitchen". S. aureus is a bacteria found in the respiratory tract.