The Dangers Of Drying Dishes With Towels

By Bernie on 15 Dec 2012

Dirty dishes and utensils should be hand washed within two hours. Let them air dry to avoid contamination from dishcloths or hands.
Photo Credit: Health Media Lab

I have mentioned in many previous articles that although my wife and I agree on 99% of the issues of the world (politics, God, child-rearing), when we're in the kitchen together however, we just can never agree at all on anything.

My readers may find some of the disagreements rather silly, but to my wife and me they border on religious schism. For example, I like to stir cranberry sauce when I take it out of the can while my wife likes it in slices.

I like keeping produce in their original containers but my dear wifey, bless her Tupperware soul, cannot help transferring everything into different and smaller containers.

Now it could very well be that in some of the disagreements my wife might be right as to how to cook or prepare food, however in the following regard she is dead wrong. Dangerously dead wrong.

When I do the dishes, I let them air dry. However my wife doesn't let them dry that way - she is compulsively driven to dry them with a dish towel. I tried to explain to her that it's a filthy and disgusting habit, but she cannot help herself. In order to stay healthy I have taken to eating on paper plates and drinking out of paper cups.

Consider the following:, What Are the Dangers of Drying Dishes With Towels?

In 2001, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association released documentation showing that dish towels can contain harmful bacteria. The towels can pick up bacteria on peoples' hands and on unclean dishes. When left wet, the towel becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and the next time you use it to dry dishes, it transfers the bacteria to your dishes. The Food and Drug Administration requires that public kitchens must air-dry their dishes, rather than use dish towels.

In addition, drying with a towel doesn't always remove all moisture from the dish. After towel-drying a few dishes the towel is moist and if you stack moist dishes on top of each other you're begging for bacteria to grow on them:

WebMD, Air Dry Your Dishes

dishes stored away while wet can become contaminated with bacteria, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

"Any time you hold wet dishes you have the chance they'll get recontaminated, because a moist, warm environment provides good conditions for bacterial growth," says Nancy Reed, RD, LD. "There are bacteria everywhere. If at all possible, do dry your dishes before you store them."

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