How often should you wash and change towels: advice from doctors - ForumDaily
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How often should you wash and change towels: advice from doctors

How often should you wash and change towels? Doctors and hygienists answer this simple but vital question, reports with the BBC.

Photo: IStock

A survey of 2200 British adults shows that no one is sure of the correct answer to such simple everyday questions.

Among those surveyed, 44% said they wash their towels every three months or longer.

“I'm a little shocked because I thought over time the towels would get crusty and smell bad and be very uncomfortable to use,” says Dr. Sally Bloomfield, a home hygiene expert and infectious disease prevention specialist.

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Nearly one in five people surveyed said they wash their towels once a month, a quarter said once a week, and one in XNUMX washed their towels every day after taking a bath or shower, according to the data.

Why wash towels

Bloomfield recommends washing towels “at least once a week.”

“Although towels may look clean, over time they will pick up millions of bacteria and can pose a serious danger to those you live with,” says Bloomfield.

She says that if you don't wash your towels regularly, "the number of microorganisms on the towel increases," and when it comes to washing, it becomes "very difficult to remove them all."

When we dry different parts of our body, the towels pick up microorganisms, such as those that cause athlete's foot.

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Most microorganisms on our skin may not be infectious, but if they get into cuts and wounds, they can “cause infections and that's serious,” says Dr. Bloomfield.

If you live with someone, you must be very careful.

“Sometimes we can carry organisms that may not make us sick now, but if we pass them on to other people, they can get sick,” says Dr. Bloomfield. They can be passed on to other people if you share towels, or if you wash your clothes with other people's clothes.

“There is strong evidence that infections can spread this way,” she says.

You may think that if you live yourself, the risk to and from others is reduced. And you are right - but Dr. Bloomfield advises not to use a towel “for more than two weeks” in such circumstances.

Dr Christina Psomadakis, an NHS consultant dermatologist, says she would “encourage people to check their towels and their washing schedule”.

“If you suffer from acne on your face, body, or have inflamed hair follicles, you'll need to wash your towel frequently,” she says.

She says poor hygiene at home, including towels, can be a contributing factor to the development of skin conditions.

“You have to pay attention to these hygiene issues. Otherwise, this will continue to be a problem for you,” warns Psomadakis.

Face and gym towel

If you like to work out, chances are you have a towel to dry off your sweat. If so, it's important to wash that towel regularly, says Dr. Bloomfield.

“Your sweating increases, skin cells release sweat from the surface of your body, and more bacteria end up on the towel,” she says.

She says that if you don't wash this towel regularly, it will become “heavily soiled” and more difficult to decontaminate during washing.

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If you're wondering whether you should have a separate towel for your face and body, Dr. Psomadakis definitely recommends that yes, you should.

“Don't forget that when you use a body towel, you're wiping down areas where you may have certain types of bacteria associated with bowel movements,” she says.

“You may have microorganisms on it that you wouldn't want on your face,” she says.

Dr Bloomfield acknowledges that using washing machines raises environmental and cost concerns, but believes it is better to wash towels regularly at a low temperature than occasionally at a high temperature.

“Keep your germs to yourself,” she concluded.

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