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‘It is crucial to maintain proper hygiene in our everyday routines’ as research finds some only was their towels ‘once a year’

Looking towards Glasgow centre from the West of the city

Health and Mental Health

‘It is crucial to maintain proper hygiene in our everyday routines’ as research finds some only was their towels ‘once a year’

Are you living in a midden?

Through a survey of a wide selection of UK residents, recent research found that 3% of respondents wash their 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 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 will only wash their towels twice a year, indicating over 1.5 million people across the country give their towels a clean every six months, while a third of respondents (33%) will only wash their towels once every three months at the most.

Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed MBChB, a board-certified Dermatologist and Co-founder of PowerYourCurls.com:

“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, it is recommended to wash towels after every three to four uses to eliminate bacteria, dirt, dead skin cells, and allergens, ensuring optimal hygiene and minimising health risks.”

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 9 respondents (11%) aren’t concerned at all by bacteria or hygiene issues stemming from not washing their bathroom towels, the NHS advises that towels can spread germs if not washed frequently.

City

People who only wash towels every 3 months or longer

Leicester

40.90%

Glasgow

40.80%

Belfast 

38.10%

Sheffield 

37.50%

Coventry 

36.00%

Edinburgh 

35.80%

Birmingham 

35.70%

Nottingham 

34.10%

Liverpool 

33.90%

Bristol 

33.30%

Bradford 

33.30%

Wolverhampton 

33.30%

Manchester 

32.40%

Cardiff 

31.70%

London 

31.40%

Leeds 

31.30%

Hull 

28.10%

Stoke-Trent

28.10%

Southampton 

28.00%

Newcastle upon Tyne 

22.20%

The study reveals that those in Leicester and Glasgow are most likely to go the longest without washing their towels, with over four in 10 (41%) from both cities admitting to only washing their towels every three months at the most.

However, it’s not all bad news for the nation’s bathroom hygiene, with almost one in five (38%) respondents in a survey of 2,200 UK residents stating they wash their towels once a month, almost a quarter (24%) washing their towels once a week and one in 20 (5%) health conscious residents washing their towels every single day.

Martin Smith, the founder of Showers to You who commissioned the research noted: 

“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.”

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