New microbiology research
A new study presented at the American Society for Microbiology has highlighted the issue of infections caused by moist kitchen towels. The problem is particularly acute in kitchens were meat is prepared and cooked. A particular risk for meat eating households is e-coli, but the study found that vegetarian families were still at risk from Enterococcus. You can read about the study and the advice the authors give on this webpage.
Kitchen towels are a particular risk factor because they are often moist and are used after raw food has been prepped.
Below is some basic advice to minimise the risk of infection or illness from germs breeding on your towels.
Laundry advice - for best results and to reduce the risk of illness
- Change the towels regularly - possibly even daily
- Keep them dry
- Smell them; if there's a smell, there are germs breeding!
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after preparing food - even vegetables.
The article advises that towels be tumble dried on the basis that heat will help kill germs. But not everybody has a tumble drier or even wants to use it regularly, especially on 'good drying days'.
We would advise the use of Soda Crystals in the wash, or even better Soda Crystals Laundry Boost which contains oxygen bleach. As with all washes, the hotter the wash, the more chance of you removing harmful germs. Remember that a 40 degC wash is only just warmer than body temperature! Hotter washes also reduce the risk of bacteria build up within the machine itself.
General Laundry Advice
- Separate coloureds and whites into separate washes and occassionally wash the whites at a higher temp wash (above 60 degC) if the garment care label allows. If you really don't want to wash at higher temperatures, consider using Soda Crystals Laundry Boost to stop whites becoming grey.
- Particularly with towels, do not use fabric conditioner. Instead replace it with white vinegar.
- Do tumble dry towels occassionally to help plump up the fibres; the addition of drier (or tennis) balls will help.
- Try to wash nappies and soiled underwear separately if practical. Or at the least wash at 60 degC or above and consider using Soda Crystals Laundry Boost .