How often should I wash my towels? A microbiologist reveals all

There are plenty of things that need to be kept clean in your home, but one that may slip people's minds are our bath and hand towels.

Given that we use them to dry parts of our body that we've just given a good wash, you could be forgiven for thinking that you can get away with a once weekly wash - or perhaps even less, for some.

MORE:THIS Is How Often You Should Change Your Bedsheets

So how often should I wash my towels?

It seems that we should actually be washing our towels much more regularly than that, according to the experts.

Philip Tierno, a microbiologist at New York University School of Medicine, revealed that a towel - even if it's properly dried - shouldn't be used more than three times.

He explained to Tech Radar, “If you can dry it completely, no more than three times max. A damp towel is growing.

"Wherever there is odour, there are microbes growing so it should be washed.”

Towels should be cleaned regularly to avoid drying yourself off with a towel that's full of growing bacteria - yuck.

Dr. Gerba, a microbiologist, also told Time US, “After about two days, if you dry your face on a hand towel, you’re probably getting more E. coli on your face than if you stuck your head in a toilet and flushed it.” Pretty gross, right?


And it seems they're alone in her estimations.

Cleaning expert with Fantastic Service Ralitsa Prodanova, agrees that we should be washing our towels after every three or four uses - which, for people who shower daily, is every three or four days.

She told, "If you get a musty smell when you bring the towel up to your nose, that’s bacteria growing on the towel itself. And because towels are often warm and damp, they’re the perfect breeding ground for bugs and germs."

So is this what most people are doing?

According to a 2018 GE Appliances poll, taking in results of over 1,500 people, 50% said they'd actually use a towel five times before washing it.

But, a further 14% of respondents said they'd use a towel eight times or more before they washed it.

So what are your thoughts?

How often do you wash your towel - and is it more or less than the recommended amount?

Amy Hunt
Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly,, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.