Amid recent reports that freshly washed towels contain 190,000 counts of bacteria – increasing to 17 million after just one day of use and soaring to as high as 94 million after a week – you may be shocked to find out that new research from bath experts at Showers to You indicates over one million UK residents only wash their bathroom towels once a year.
While guidance shows that towels should be washed after three uses, bathroom experts Showers to You surveyed 2,200 UK residents and found that many were using their towels for much longer before giving them a freshen-up.
Through a survey of 2,200 UK residents, Showers to You’s research found that 3% of respondents wash their bathroom towels once a year, equating to 1,595,646 people based on the latest adult population estimates from the Office of National Statistics.
Men were five times more likely to clean their bathroom towels just once a year, with 5% of male respondents admitting to giving them an annual wash, compared to 1% of women.
Almost one in 10 respondents (8%) stated they would only wash their bathroom towels twice a year, indicating that over 1.5 million nationwide clean their towels every six months. In contrast, a third of respondents (33%) will only wash their bathroom towels once every three months at the most.
The study reveals that those in Leicester and Glasgow are m
However, it’s not all bad news for the nation’s bathroom hygiene, with almost one in five (38%) respondents stating they wash their towels once a month, almost a quarter (24%) washing their towels once a week. One in 20 (5%) health-conscious residents wash their towels daily.
Martin Smith, the founder of Showers to You commented: “The bathroom should, in theory, be one of the cleanest rooms in the home; however, our research shows that many people across the country could be ignoring a key step in ensuring proper bathroom hygiene.
“While it’s encouraging to see the data shows the majority of respondents are keeping up with regularly washing their bathroom towels, everyone should ensure they are ensuring a regular routine of washing their towels in line with guidance from health professionals, especially for those who only give their towels an annual wash.”
Visual cleanliness is the most common factor that causes people to wash their bathroom towels (67%), followed by smell (61%) and ‘number of uses’ (58%). Worryingly, however, one in six respondents (15%) stated they will only wash their towels once they have become stiff.
While the study found that one in nine respondents (11%) aren’t concerned by bacteria or hygiene issues from not washing their bathroom towels, the NHS advises that towels can spread germs if not washed frequently.
Commenting on the research, Dr Hamdan Abdullah Hamed MBChB, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of PowerYourCurls.com, states: “It is crucial to maintain proper hygiene in our everyday routines, including the use and care of bathroom towels. Regular washing of bathroom towels is important to maintain cleanliness and reduce the risk of infections.
“Towels tend to accumulate moisture, creating an environment conducive to bacterial and fungal growth. 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. Therefore, washing towels after every three to four uses is recommended to eliminate bacteria, dirt, dead skin cells, and allergens, ensuring optimal hygiene and minimising health risks.”