Is It Sanitary to Leave Wet Towels on Towel Bars in the Bathroom?


Wet or damp bathroom towels can be a breeding ground for bacteria as well as mold and even bugs. The fact is well documented that bacteria and mold thrive in damp, dark and warm conditions. But there is no need for alarm. A towel bar can help you avoid bacteria growth, and by following a few simple rules for towel maintenance and bathroom cleanliness, you can keep yourself and your family safe.

Ensure Your Towel Dries Quickly

  • To reduce the threat of bacteria, ensure that your towel can dry easily and quickly. Use of a towel bar is a good way to dry your towel quickly. Avoid placing your towel on a towel bar folded or scrunched. Instead, spread it out to allow for maximum air circulation. See that each person in your house has a towel bar for his towel. Piling damp towels on top on each other does not allow the towels to dry properly and can encourage bacteria growth.

Wash Your Towels Regularly

  • Although leaving your towel on your towel bar to dry after using it is not unsafe, a clean towel is essential. Wash your towels regularly in hot water, and dry them in the dryer thoroughly before storing or using them. If your towel has been used in a public place such as a gym, wash and dry it after each use.

Don't Always Share Hand Towels

  • Each family member should have his own bath towel, but sharing a hand towel is not unsafe provided the towel is cleaned regularly and can dry in between uses. However, see that that proper hand washing procedures are followed to avoid transferring germs to hand towels. If members of the household have a cold or flu, set aside a hand towel for their own exclusive use for the duration of their illness to help prevent the spread of germs.

Be Bathroom Bacteria Savvy

  • While your towel in hanging on a towel bar, it can be exposed to bacteria. For example, when a toilet is flushed with the lid open, bacteria can travel up to 8 feet and land on any nearby surface, including your towel. Ensure that family members always flush the toilet with the lid closed, and avoid hanging towels above the toilet.

Never Use Public Restroom Cloth Towels

  • Although drying a towel on a towel bar is sanitary for home use, never use a cloth towel in a public restroom. Towels in public restrooms are typically continually damp, exposed to many bacteria from improperly washed hands and flushing toilets and are therefore unsanitary. Use a hand dryer or paper towels in public restrooms.

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