Kitchen towels are serious helpers in the kitchen. Not just used for drying (dishes, your hands, fruit, and more), they're also what we grab in a pinch for a quick cleanup or as a workaround oven mitt or makeshift lid to keep food warm after it comes out of the oven. Plus, they can add some serious style to a kitchen.
Of course, anytime you have something with so many roles, you run the risk of spreading germs — especially when you store it someplace where it gets even more exposure.
People store their kitchen towels in a variety of spots: hanging off the kitchen sink, threaded through the refrigerator door handles, or on designated hooks and bars in various areas of the kitchen. But there's one spot where it's actually not so great to hang your kitchen towel: on the oven door.
There are a couple reasons for this, but they all come down to cross-contamination. First of all, appliance handles tend to be extra-germy, because we reach for them mid-cooking, occasionally with dirty hands from whatever we've been preparing. So anything that may have been left on your hands from that cookie dough, lasagna, or chicken you're braising, will end up on the handle. And if it's on the handle, it'll transfer to the dish towel — the one you're then using to dry your hands and dishes once they've been clean. Yuck!
The other reason is that, unless your stove is installed higher in the wall, the dish towel is going to hit the floor every time the door opens. And the floor, of course, is another spot where germs accumulate, as foot traffic and spills meld into a little bacteria jacuzzi — especially near the stove, where things can spill on their way in and out of the oven, or as you stir something on the stovetop. And it's a spot you stand at more often, too. So every time you flop the dish towel onto the floor, it's picking up traces of that stuff. Gross.
Your best bet, if you want to avoid getting any more bacteria on your kitchen towels than you absolutely have to, is to store them on a designated hook or bar near your sink (not draped over the side of the sink, because, as we've learned, that area is filthy too!). This way your towel isn't cross-contaminating with other germ-prone areas in your kitchen, but it's still handy when you need it.
2 of the Best Kitchen Towels You Can Buy
Where do you stash your kitchen towels while they're being used?