Woman wrapped in a towel

Towels are unique breeding grounds for infection as they trap moisture, dirt, skin cells, and bacteria. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is not the only infection that can be spread by wet, dirty, overused towels.

For the sake of your good health, beware of the following contagious diseases from bath towels. All of them are treatable with antibiotics, anti-fungal medications, and good hygiene. But most of all, avoidance of poor towel hygiene and absolutely no towel sharing is the best prevention.


Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a sexually transmitted infection. The causative bacteria are present in the seminal fluid of infected men or vaginal discharges of infected women and are quickly spread through physical contact that may be sexual or non-sexual such as sharing of bath towels. Many persons don’t know, but the gonorrhea bacteria could also be transmitted from the towel to the eyes, so you do not want to be rubbing that dirty towel where it counts, do you?

Gonorrhea is curable, but the bacteria can infect the private part tract, the mouth, and the rectum, and can also wreak havoc in a woman’s cervix, womb, birth canal, and fallopian tubes. The end result for a woman might include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. Women are particularly more at risk because they often have no symptoms even while the damage is being done.

Tip: Avoid rubbing your eyes and private parts with the same towel. Practice careful hygiene to avoid contagion! Absolutely no towel sharing!

Barber’s Rash

This is a skin infection in facial hair areas. It is also known as “Folliculitis”. The underlying medical cause is or Staph Infection which can be notoriously hard to treat. It can spread to the rest of the body through the use of a contaminated towel.

Tip: Don’t share your towels with someone else.


This is the infamous contagious eye infection also known as “Pink Eye”. Conjunctivitis is a group of diseases that cause swelling, itching, burning, and redness of the conjunctiva, the protective membrane that lines the eyelids and covers exposed areas of the sclera, or white of the eye.

Symptoms include “pink” eye, irritated, reddened, crusting, gritty, itchy eyes, swollen eyelid, eye pain and/or discomfort, light sensitivity, yellow discharge from the eye, or your eyelids glued shut after sleep.

Tip: Don’t rub your face with the same towel used to rub your body. Use a separate face towel and never share towels.


Chronic follicular conjunctivitis leads to scarring in the conjunctiva and cornea and it can lead to blindness. Seriously, whoever thought this could come from a towel? From red and/or watering eyes with swollen eyelids and sensitivity to red lumps on the eyelids and multiple lumps, giving you nasty eye pain, corneal scarring, and dimming vision that gets progressively worse until you are totally blind. Not a joke!

Tip: Don’t rub your face with the same towel used to rub your body. Use a separate face towel and never share towels.

Caring for your towel at home or the gym is an important way of reducing the spread of infections and disease. Wash your bath towels at home after two or three uses, as long as the towel has dried thoroughly between uses, and don’t share your bath towel with others in your family. Dry your towels outside when possible so the UV rays from the sun can kill bacteria on the towels.

Hand towels are different as they are often used by multiple people in the family and usually get much dirtier, faster. Hand towels should be washed every two days, and possibly every day if you have a large family.

Wash your towels in the hottest water safe for the fabric with a cup of white vinegar before washing a second time with detergent to help ensure your towels are as clean as possible. Avoid using dryer sheets and fabric softeners on your towels and underwear as these products inhibit the fabric’s ability to absorb sweat and liquid.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

facebook-f messenger twitter pinterest linkedin flipboard instagram youtube whatsapp email

Post a Comment

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post