Health experts urge Britons to 'Detox The Dishcloth'*

Health experts warn that unhygienic dishcloths could be responsible for spreading germs around the home. Ditching the dishcloth and switching to disposable alternatives, such as antibacterial wipes, could ensure a more hygienic solution to every day cleaning.

Commissioned by the Global Hygiene Council, the international laboratory study swabbed dishcloths from homes in the UK, USA, UAE, South Africa and India to identify the type and levels of bacteria present. The research found nine out of ten UK dishcloths were ‘heavily contaminated’ with bacteria, while a further 10% were ‘unsatisfactory’, resulting in 100% failing
the overall microbiological hygiene tests.

70% of the dishcloths had over one billion bacteria per 100cm², 60% were contaminated with E.coli (the bacteria which causes stomach upset) and 25% contained over one billion Pseudomonas spp. per 100cm², an organism linked to damp, dirty conditions.

Professor John Oxford, Chairman of the Hygiene Council and Visiting Professor of Virology at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, explains: “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.

Top tips:

  • Wash your dishcloth thoroughly after each use and rinse with an anti-bacterial detergentevery two days to kill harbouring germs. 
  • Ditch your dishcloth every few months. 
  • Regularly deep clean your dishcloth in your washing machine at 60 degrees Switch to anti-bacterial wipes to clean some surfaces, particularly after the preparation of raw meat or poultry.




1 Dettol Hygiene Home Truths Study 2014 was commissioned by the Global Hygiene Council in 2014. It sampled 20 homes in each of the five countries (100 homes in total) represented by the Hygiene Council. Countries included in the study were India (Delhi), South Africa (Johannesburg), UAE (Dubai), UK (London) and USA (New York).

2 The Global Hygiene Council is an initiative bringing together leading global experts in the field of microbiology, virology, infectious diseases, immunology and public health to formulate realistic and practical recommendations on simple hygiene measures to help the public improve levels of hygiene in the home and community and, in turn, help to prevent the spread of all kinds of infections -