Yes, towels are supposed to bend

2 minute read

More folks than you might expect are blasé about bathroom hygiene.

How often do you wash your bath towels?

Daily? Once a week? Couple of times a month? Not even that much? Only once a year?

Surely not!

Your Back Page scribe has lived in some fairly hygienically challenged share houses in his youth, but at no stage was an annual towel wash considered de rigueur.

Hence our consternation when we read the results of a survey carried out by a UK-based bathroom supply company, called Showers to You, which examined the laundry habits of more than 2000 Brits.

A staggering 3% of respondents admitted to only popping the towels in the top-loader once a year and a further 8% confessed to a meagre six-monthly wash cycle. Extrapolate those numbers out to the broader population and that’s nearly six million UK citizens who only wash their towels twice a year – at best!  

Disappointingly, males were the chief offenders on this front, being five times more likely to fall into the utterly disgusting slacker category than women.

On the plus side, one in five of those surveyed said they washed their towels monthly, and a quarter opted for once a week. There were even 5% of folks who reckoned they washed their towels on a daily basis.

Aside from the yuck factor of letting one’s bath towels fester for a full year before putting them out of their misery, does it really matter how often they get washed?

Common sense screams: “Yes! A lot!” Apart from the visual and olfactory unpleasantness, there’s also a bacterial factor that our cleanliness deniers should be thinking a bit harder about.

“Towels tend to accumulate moisture, creating an environment conducive to bacterial and fungal growth,” dermatologist Dr Hamdan Abdullah Hamed said in comments on the research.

“Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus can lead to skin infections, while fungi like Candida yeast can cause issues like athlete’s foot or yeast infections. Additionally, dirty towels may contain allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or skin irritations in sensitive individuals,” he added.

According to Dr Hamed, an appropriate regimen would be to wash bathroom towels after every three or four uses – which doesn’t sound like a big ask, or indeed anything other than what we expect most people would do.

Turns out there could be six million Brits who think otherwise.

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