Your bath towel can host bacteria, fungus, dead skin cells and varied bodily secretions. Although most of these microbes are unlikely to harm you seeing as the majority of them probably come from your own body, they are still there and can multiply quickly!
What do the experts say?
How many times can you use your towel before concentrations of your own bacteria become too much? Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist from the University of New York responded to this question in an interview with Tech Insider. He said, “If you dry your towel completely and quickly you should use your towel no more than a maximum of 3 days.” This is supposing that you have a place to hang your towel so that it can aerate and dry completely. “A damp towel encourages bacteria to develop,” continued the researcher. “Wherever there are smells there are microbes growing so if your towel smell you should give it a wash.”
Why do germs develop on towels?
Bath towels are ideal for germs as they have the perfect conditions for microbial life to develop including water, hot temperatures, oxygen, food and a neutral pH. Human bodies also provide the perfect conditions for microbes which is why we are covered in microbes both inside and outside our body. When you dry yourself after a shower, microbes and other secretions such as dead skin cells which are found on the surface of our skin get transferred onto your towel. Added to other air deposit, this provides food for the microbes while the moisture provides water and a neutral pH.
Effects of bacteria
According to the researcher, although the majority of microbes found in our house are harmless it is difficult to say whether the bacteria on our towels are similar or if they are in fact harmful to our health. However sharing a towel with other people can cause illnesses like Staphylococcus Aureus. The fact that we are in contact with germs that are not our own which our body is not familiar with increases the risk of this type of infection.
You should be sensible when think about sharing your towel and look out for bad smells on your towel. We are probably all culprits of not washing our towels often enough.