The cleanliness of bath towels is often underestimated, but in reality, they can harbor germs and even lead to infections.

It is essential to know how to wash bath towels and how frequently they should be cleaned.

Contrary to common belief, bath towels are susceptible to germ growth even if they are only used to wipe the body after bathing. The skin's surface naturally carries various bacteria, including both beneficial and harmful strains.

While bathing helps eliminate some bacteria, residual bacteria from the skin can transfer onto the bath towel during use.

Moisture is already present in bath towels, and when combined with the humid bathroom environment and water splashes from the toilet flush, it creates an environment conducive to bacterial breeding. Regular use of towels allows bacteria to multiply.

In fact, a study revealed that nearly 14% specifically of bath towels carry E. coli.

That is one reason why bath towels may develop a yellowish tint over time. Apart from bacteria from the skin, towels can also accumulate dead skin cells, sweat, grease, residual makeup, and other impurities, further contributing to discoloration.

Although bath towels may appear dirty, it is uncommon to hear about people falling ill from using them. Generally, the human body can adapt to the microorganisms present on the skin, minimizing the negative health impact.

Thus, sharing bath towels is not advisable. While healthy individuals who share towels usually do not experience significant skin problems, if the towels are not properly washed and an infected person uses them, the infection can be transmitted to the next user.

Leaving bath towels unwashed for an extended period allows bacteria and mold to thrive. Even when towels are used exclusively, if the skin has open wounds or the immune system is weak, pathogens can take advantage of the situation, leading to skin infections or inflammation.

Acne-prone individuals should also be cautious, as using a dirty towel, especially on areas with open pimples, can introduce bacteria to the skin and worsen acne.

To maintain clean bath towels and reduce bacteria, follow these four methods:

1. Proper drying:

After use, avoid crumpling the towel and leaving it in the bathroom. Instead, hang the towel on a rack and ensure it is spread out to dry, minimizing the chances of germ growth.

2. Avoid sharing:

To prevent germ transmission, do not share bath towels that have not been washed.

3. Wash regularly with appropriate detergent:

It is generally recommended to wash bath towels at least once a week. If any odors arise, it indicates a potential bacterial or mold buildup, necessitating immediate washing.

Individuals with conditions like folliculitis or atopic dermatitis should wash their towels every two days.

Clean towels should be stored in a dry and well-ventilated area. Different materials may require specific cleaning methods, so check the cleaning instructions on the towel's label.

Typically, regular laundry detergent or washing powder is suitable, while yellowed towels can use vinegar, oxygen color bleach, or baking soda. Using hot water in the washing machine, if available, is also beneficial.

4. Regular replacement:

When bath towels become too old or retain persistent odors even after washing, it is advisable to discard them and replace them with new ones.