Do you know what's growing on your kitchen towel?

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The researchers recommended against multipurpose usage of kitchen towels and said that larger families "should be especially vigilant [when it comes] to hygiene in the kitchen", lead study author Dr. Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, a senior lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Mauritius, said in a statement.

The larger the family the higher the chance of bacterial growth on the tea towels, the study found. Damp towels had higher concentrations than dry, and towels used for a variety of tasks (drying hands, wiping surfaces, holding hot implements) were more likely to be contaminated than single-use dish cloths.

Tea towels that aren't washed regularly or left to dry between uses carry nasty bugs like E.coli and staph bacteria.

If you are prone to tea-towel reuse than this post is calling for your urgent attention.

They found staphylococcus was more likely to be found on towels from families with children and of lower socio-economic status. While it's true that a new study did find that kitchen towels aren't exactly bastions of cleanliness, you don't necessarily need to forever banish them to the deepest, darkest pits of hell.

Your kitchen towel may harbor a number of different bacteria, a new study finds.

FYI, nylon towels generally had less bacteria on them than cotton towels - likely because cotton is more absorbent, providing microbes more to feast on.

The humble kitchen towels used for multi-purpose tasks can put your households at potential risk of bacteria that cause food poisoning, say researchers.

Of the 49 towels that carried pathogens, nearly three-quarters grew coliform bacteria (a type that may include E. coli); 36.7 percent grew Enterococcus; and 14.3 percent grew staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph that can cause serious infections.

For cloth towels, wash them often. Diet was also an important factor; families on non-vegetarian diets had higher prevalence of coliform and S. aureus detection.

Findings from the study were scheduled for presentation Saturday at the American Society for Microbiology meeting, in Atlanta.

Use paper towels once.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen".

The presence of potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could lead to food poisoning through cross-contamination. Hygiene maintenance is vital for families that have more members or have children and elderly she said.

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