According to Newsweek, the question of how often people should wash their towels varies, with some suggesting that towels should be washed weekly while others believe towels should be washed more frequently.
While it could be argued that towels don’t need to be washed that often since they are only used after someone bathes, experts point out that the damp environment makes absorbent towels the perfect place for bacteria to grow, including Staphylococcus bacteria. Additionally, since bath towels are kept in a room with a flushing toilet, they also could become exposed to coliforms found in feces, like E. coli.
In her TikTok video, Madame Sweat said towels that aren’t washed often enough could become a “breeding ground” for mildew, mold, “and even E. coli.”
Madame Sweat said she had been told by a biologist that swabs taken from bath towels after just one day of use turned up 250,000 bacteria. By the seventh day, the swabs picked up as much as 650 million bacteria.
She said to prevent bath towels from becoming bacteria-infested disease magnets, people should replace their towels with clean ones twice a week and wash the dirty ones.
According to Newsweek, the Cleaning Institute recommends that bath towels should be hung up to dry after use and allowed to fully dry before they are used again. It recommends washing bath towels after 3 to 5 “normal uses.”
In a 2015 survey, most adults said they only wash bath towels once a week. Another 17 percent said they only wash their towels a few times a month. Only 7 percent said they wash towels after a single use.
The Cleaning Institute also recommends that bed sheets get washed every two weeks. For those who “sweat a lot at night,” it recommends that bed sheets get washed more frequently.