This Is Why You Probably Need To Wash Your Bath Towels More Often

You only use your bath towel when you get out of the shower or tub. You are fresh and clean, so your towel should stay relatively hygienic too, right? Wrong. According to the unsettlingly informative video above, those “just damp” towels may be harboring much more than the water removed from your clean body. Here is what you need to know about how gross your bath towel might be.

Skin Cells

As you wipe away the water, you also slough off dead skin cells. While this might sound unappealing, this alone is not harmful. However, those cells serve as an inviting meal for microbes. In addition, bath towels are typically damp and warm, making them an ideal breeding ground for these microscopic organisms.

dry skin photo
Flickr | quinn.anya

Spreading Bacteria

Since most of these microbes came from your own body, they are not terribly harmful to you. If you use your bath towel to dry your face, though, you could spread bacteria, viruses and fungi from other parts of your body to your delicate facial skin, which can result in acne, boils or infections.

acne photo
Flickr | Saluda UdeA

Sharing More Than Towels

If you tend to share towels with your partner, children or others, things could get quite ugly. For instance, you can spread fungus such as athlete’s foot or even staph infections such as MRSA simply by swapping towels with family members.

If someone has an open wound or diminished immune system, this can be especially hazardous.

Flickr | Andreas

Bathroom Filth

Most people hang their used towels in the bathroom near the shower or tub, which is also in the general vicinity of the toilet. This, along with their use in drying bodies, makes bath towels likely to contain unsanitary bodily fluids, as well.

Photo by Micah Sittig
Photo by Micah Sittig
Photo by Micah Sittig

When To Wash

To avoid all of this ickiness, it is best to allow towels to dry completely between uses and wash them after no more than three uses. Along with a thorough wash, throwing bath towels in the dryer can help. Drying on high heat for at least 28 minutes is a highly effective way to disinfect your laundry.

RELATED: Here’s How Often You Should Wash All Your Clothes

washing towels photo
Flickr | Brett Blignaut