How often should you change your dishcloth to avoid harmful bacteria?

How often should you change your dishcloth to avoid harmful bacteria?

Here's a look at why you need to wash and change your dishcloths often. 

Kitchen towel dishcloth
Kitchen cloth / iStock

Dishcloths have many uses - they clean countertops, wash dishes, and absorb liquids fast after a spill. 

Some sad souls even use them to wipe the floor when nobody is looking! 

Studies have shown that kitchen sinks are one of the dirtiest areas in the home and sometimes contain more E.coli than your toilet!

Considering dishcloths practically live in or near the sink, it is safe to say they can easily become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria

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Which leads us to an important question - how often should you wash and change your kitchen cloths?

As soon as they start smelling bad or feeling slimy you know you have not been cleaning them enough.

When it comes to daily use, Clean Mama founder Becky Rapinchuk suggests using a new dishcloth every day.

"This habit is essential for keeping food-borne pathogens and other bacteria away. My routine is to put out new dish and hand towels after dinner is cleaned up and after the counters are wiped down," she told Eat This, Not That.

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What about cleaning your dishrags?

'Clean My Space' author Melissa Maker told Kitchn.com that dishcloths need to be washed often - like every day - or two if you are feeling lazy.

Drying your dishcloths are also important after washing them to avoid mildew.

"If a cotton dish towel is not 100 percent dry, it will grow mildew and smell musty and gross, then you’ll have to wash it two or three more times to get the smell out,” Melissa told Kitchn. 

It is also important to wash your dishcloths after they have come into contact with foods like meat. 

Always wash your kitchen cloths separately from your laundry. Not only is washing them along with your clothes gross, but you could also be introducing germs.

Hang your dishcloths immediately after washing. DO NOT leave them in the washing machine overnight.

There are many ways to keep your dishcloths fresh and clean. You can soak them in warm water and vinegar for 15  minutes. You can also add a tablespoon of baking soda once the 15 minutes have passed.

After soaking them, you can handwash your dishcloths or put them in your washing machine using the hot water setting.

A few signs it might be time to say goodbye to your dishcloth: they have one too many holes, they used to be green and now they look brown-ish, they are badly stained, and have lost their shape.

Don't throw them in the trash though, old kitchen cloths can be used as a floor rag. 

How do you clean your dishcloths? Share your tips in the comments section. 

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