Can I use a towel to dry dishes?
After you have washed dishes in hot, soapy water, you can use a dish towel to dry them. In general, it's okay to dry your dishes with a towel as long as the towel you use is clean. The advantage of using a towel is that you can dry dishes thoroughly and quickly, then put them away.
The biggest reason why you should throw away the tea towels that are sat in your office kitchen and use paper towels instead is because they can harbour and spread nasty germs and bacteria like the Coronavirus, Norovirus and E. coli.
Wait, don't reach for that dishtowel just yet. It turns out that air-drying dishes on a dish rack is generally a more sanitary method than using a dishtowel. To make more space for air-drying, consider a two-tier dish rack or one that fits over your kitchen sink.
Drying dishes is a key part of the dish-washing process! If you put stuff away when it's still wet, moisture gets into your cabinets, and that can warp the material and foster the growth of mildew. Don't feel like drying everything? Just let your dishes sit on a drying rack or pad overnight.
Why? Because they usually hang a little damp and are often used to dry hands that haven't been washed adequately. Nasty bacteria like salmonella (usually found in raw meat) can grow on a damp dish towel overnight.
Hand towels can be used not only for drying your hands, but also for drying and polishing dishes, so always have an assortment on hand.
It turns out that air-drying dishes on a dish rack is generally a more sanitary method than using a dishtowel. To make more space for air-drying, consider a two-tier dish rack or one that fits over your kitchen sink.
“As long as it's drying completely between use, there's almost no chance of passing bacteria from one person to another,” she says. Still, you'll want to wash them at least once a week. And if they start to smell, Whittier says you know you've let them go too long.
coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus can survive and persist for up to 16 days on a kitchen sponge and up to 13 days on microfiber towels.
Jet air dryers blow those remaining germs around the bathroom, back onto your hands, and onto your face! Did you know that jet air dryers can increase the bacteria on fingers by up to 42%? Drying with towels instead can actually remove up to 77% of germs that remain after washing your hands.
Should you dry dishes after washing?
WebMD cites a study that concludes that after 48 hours, bacteria proliferates on stacked, wet plates. If dishes come out of your dishwasher wet and you don't have time to let them air dry, wipe them off with a fresh towel before you put them away.
The better way to hand wash your dishes
Use a plastic or silicone brush. Brushes tend to stay drier when they're not used, and they don't have as many deep crevices as sponges where water and bacteria can grow.
Can you hand dry dishes in a restaurant? The general rule is to never use a hand towel to dry dishes in a restaurant. Towels promote cross-contamination regardless of whether they are new, recently washed, or never been used. The safest way to dry dishes is to place them in a drying rack and allow them to air dry.
You can make an extra drying rack by placing a cooling rack on one half of a double sink. Not only will this hack double your dish-drying area, but because the clean dishes will drip right over the drain, your counters will stay dryer.
A paper towel is food grade for casual contact with food. It is not food grade for heavy contact, like using it as a substitute for a coffee filter. It is also a one-time use item.
Towels absorb a lot of water and remain damp for hours, which is the perfect breeding ground for unwanted germs. That's why towels should be washed every three uses. You have 19 million skin cells and 650 sweat glands in every inch of your body.
The very best dish towels are made of absorbent, durable material — cotton, linen, and microfiber are common contenders — and are high enough in quality to withstand frequent washing.
Cotton terry cloth: Terry cloth has raised loops that are great at grabbing and holding moisture. It's highly absorbent, inexpensive, and ideal for drying dishes and hands or wiping up spills. New terry cloth towels will deposit some lint on glassware, depending on quality.
Dish towels are used exclusively for washing and drying dishes and should be kept separate from other towels to prevent the spread of bacteria. They are generally made from a more durable, absorbent cotton material.
The best way to wash dishes for water efficiency is to fill the sink with soap and water and turn off the faucet while cleaning. After you've filled the basin, don't let water go down the drain unless you're using it to rinse off suds. You can also use a water aerator to maximize the water coming out of the spout.
Can you get infections from towels?
Germs on clothes and towels can come from our own body. We all have bacteria on the surface of our skin, in our noses and in our gut. These are often harmless, but some can cause infection, particularly in people with skin problems or wounds.
They found that 49% of the towels exhibited growth of bacteria normally found in or on the human body.
Even if you didn't wash your towels after 4 (or 30) uses, you're still not going to get a fungal infection, Whittier says. "Something like a yeast or fungus isn't part of our normal skin flora," she says.
Moisture – Bacteria need moisture in order to grow. This is why they grow on foods with high moisture content such as chicken. Foods that are dehydrated or freeze-dried can be stored for much longer as the moisture has been removed. Food – Food provides energy and nutrients for bacteria to grow.
As a general rule, launder your bath towel (or swap in a clean one) at least once a week and your washcloth a couple times a week. Wash towels more frequently if you're sick to avoid reinfection.