While we Canadians may do a sort-of-OK job at cleaning our homes, we’re not super-duper clean. That’s according to a new study that suggests that we need to do a better job at disinfecting certain bacteria-ladden areas of our homes. One of the ickiest things in our homes isn’t our toilets’it’s our dishtowels. That’s right, the cloth you use to dry your clean dishes our wipe your child’s hands is crawling with bacteria.
According to a study conducted by the Hygiene Council, an international group of virologists, immunologists and other germ experts, 20 percent of kitchen towels tested were infested with bacteria. Half of those towels also showed evidence of E.coli, which can lead to serious illness, reports the Toronto Star.
That’s gross, certainly. But do we need to burn all our dish towels in a fit of panic? Perhaps that’s your choice but before you strike a match, consider the hygiene hypothesis, a theory that allergies and asthma are more prevalent in Western societies because we are just too clean. Also, thing about the fact that the Hygiene Council is funded by an educational grant from Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes the disinfecting Lysol products. My question: My dish towel may in fact be covered in bacteria, but is that really dangerous to my health?
Dr. Donald Low, microbiologist-in-chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and member of the Hygiene Council, recommends washing your dish towels in hot water every day and using a separate towel for hands and dishes, reports the Star. Does that seem like good advice to you, or do you think all that washing is excessive?