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Foodborne illnesses (FbIs) are often caused by bacterial pathogens that linger in places like the kitchen sink, door knobs, dirty countertops, and faucet handles. These bacteria can make you terribly sick. But there is also one agent that can cause severe food poisoning, something most people would not believe is capable of housing several types of harmful bacteria. Well, recent research has shown that kitchen towels are responsible for infecting people.

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After one month of use, there is a greater chance that a single kitchen towel already has many types of bacteria, including the type of bacteria that is found inside your body or in faecal matter. As a matter of fact, there are more bacteria existing on wet towels than there are on dry towels. This is because most bacteria need moisture to survive and multiply. Kitchen towels that contain harmful bacteria that cause people to fall sick often have E. coli, which originates from the intestines of animals.
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There are also many factors that increase the chances of contracting food-borne illnesses from kitchen towels. One such factor is belonging to a larger family, especially if you are part of a family with children or if it is an extended family living in one house. Other contributing factors could be when a person is of a lower socioeconomic status and consuming lots of meat. All these correlate with a higher bacterial load.

Kitchen towels are not the only items that carry these harmful bacteria. Other kitchen items like sponges and dish rags can be breeding grounds for bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

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A way to reduce your risk of bacterial contamination would be to cut back on your meat consumption. Raw meat or undercooked meat carries dangerous bacteria. You have to use plain, white kitchen towels and use bleach when you wash them to kill bacteria. Some bacteria on your kitchen towels could survive the heat of your washing machine and dryer, so you have to take extra measures to ensure that your kitchen towels are free from them.
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This article was first published on 27th June 2022


Ohia, Ernest Chigaemezu is a writer, editor, and grade teacher based in Jos, Nigeria.

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