Dishcloths have six times as much bacteria as toilet handles in the UK, according to a study commissioned by the Global Hygiene Council.
Six out of 10 cloths harbour harmful E.coli bacteria, which can cause stomach upsets and prove fatal to vulnerable people.
A total of 85 per cent of Britons fail to clean their dishcloth at a high enough temperature to kill the germs.
‘Dishcloths are a hidden health hazard in people’s homes as they harbour harmful bacteria and can spread them around the kitchen – over worktops, chopping boards, on surfaces families eat at and potentially throughout the home’, said Professor John Oxford, Professor of Virology St Barts and the Royal London Queen Mary College.
‘By using a contaminated cloth, people are likely to be transferring bacteria around the home and putting themselves and their families at risk of infection.
‘A dirty dishcloth can also contaminate hands, which in turn can cause direct contamination of other surfaces and cause indirect infection.’
While 40 per cent of people recognise that dishcloths can harbour high levels of bacteria, just 15 per cent regularly machine wash them at high enough temperatures to kill the germs.
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