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Dirty dishcloths: E.coli found on more than a quarter of household cloths


Image: Topham/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

NEW RESEARCH BY Safefood Ireland has found that 27 per cent of household dishcloths contain the raw meat bacteria E.coli.

The study’s results have been released as part of a campaign to ask consumers to be more aware that everyday kitchen habits can cause food poisoning.

Listeria was also discovered on 14 per cent of 200 dishcloths analysed.

Scientists warned that soaking cloths or sponges in bleach or rinsing them under the taps cannot be relied upon to clean them effectively.

“The dishcloth is a familiar sight in almost every kitchen on the island of Ireland, but if not cleaned properly can be a source of food poisoning – especially if used to wipe worktops where we prepare raw meat, raw poultry and raw vegetables,” said Dr. Gary Kearney, director of Food Science at Safefood.

The best way of cleaning a dishcloth is to wash it in a washing machine or boil it in water for 15 minutes. This should be done every two days.

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“And if there’s a noticeable smell from your dishcloth, then it’s definitely time to change it,” added Dr David McCleery, chief specialist in microbiology.

About one in five extra cautious cleaners throw out cloths instead of washing them.

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