Is It Safe to Dry Dishes with Paper Towels? (Here’s Why You Shouldn’t)

It’s easy to grab a paper towel and wipe your dishes using it. Many of us do this without second thoughts.

However, there are many hazards in doing so.

This guide talks about the dangers of wiping dishes with paper towels and the alternatives to use.

So, Is It Safe to Dry Dishes with Paper Towels?

Drying dishes using paper towels is a common practice in many homes. For this reason, many people don’t see any problem with doing that. After all, paper towels are very absorbent and quickly collect water from the dishes. However, performing this innocent act has been associated with various hazards. Believe it or not, but paper towels can damage the dishes you are cleaning. Plus, paper towels aren’t an eco-friendly option.

Why Shouldn’t You Clean Your Dishes with Paper Towels?

Drying your dishes with paper towels offers some benefits.

For example, since you use it only once, there are less chances that it will spread bacteria on your utensils, unlike when using a reusable tablecloth.

But the drawbacks of wiping dishes with a paper towel far outweigh this benefit.

It is not a good idea to wipe your plates and cups that have been sitting in the cupboard for a while with a paper towel.

Paper’s not eco friendly option, since they’re manufactured from trees

Secondly, you will need to use several paper towels as each is used on one item.

Suppose you have twenty items to clean. You’ll need at least forty paper towels to dry them – probably more.

You’ll quickly discover that this isn’t fiscally responsible.

Sometimes, the paper towel might leave behind tiny particles on your dishes.

These particles are not safe for your digestive system and can bring many issues.

Plus, paper towels are generally not recommended on glass because they may have a crude surface. In that case, the glass can easily attract dust.

What Kitchen Items Should You NOT Clean with Paper Towels?

If you want to use paper towels for some reason, you need to consider certain things.

One is that you should never use a single towel to wipe more than one dish.

The reason is that doing that can quickly spread bacteria on your utensils.

Plus, it won’t do a perfect job since it is already soaked. But another consideration when using these towels is which dishes you wipe.

It is not recommended to use paper towels to dry:

1. Dinner Plates

Sure, paper towels are a quick option when you want to wipe plates and cups that you haven’t used for a long time.

But, they are not the best.

They can leave particles on your utensils that are not good for your digestive system.

2. Cutting Boards

Avoid using paper towels to clean up stains like meat juice on your cutting board.

That is because they won’t absorb all the liquid.

Instead, use a clean damp cloth with some disinfectant to remove all residue.

What Alternatives Can You Use?

Paper towels are found in almost every home.

But as we have seen, they are not earth-friendly and may bring health issues with continuous use.

These products are not recyclable. So, you end up creating more waste with every spill you clean using paper towels.

Instead of paper towels, consider using these options;

1. Consider a Dish Drying Rack

Once you wash your dishes, you only need to put them on the dish rack and allow them to dry.

Dish racks may be pricier than paper towels at first.

However, they will save you in the long run as you only need one and can use it for several years.

But, sometimes, dish racks may not be the best option for some people.

The challenge is that they don’t fit all kitchen styles, and they are not sanitary since they tend to get dirty and some even rust.

2. Use a Dishwasher

Some dishwashers come with everything needed to clean and dry your utensils.

They are a cost-saving and environmentally friendly option. If your budget allows, you can choose this route.

3. Buy a Towel

Towels are not recommended to wipe dishes since some people consider them unhygienic.

But so long as your towel is clean, there is no problem using them.

Please do not use the towels for drying hands on your utensils.

Also, avoid reusing them to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria. When the towel is moist, allow it to dry and use a new one.

4. Use a Dish Drying Mat

If you lack enough towels or you want to avoid wasting them, a dish drying mat may work for you.

You only need to spread one on the kitchen table and place your dishes on top.

It will absorb water from these dishes and quickly dry them.

Plus, most of these mats can be folded. Therefore, you can store them conveniently.

5. Install a Cabinet above Your Sink

But this is not the ordinary cabinet.

Instead, it has a drying rack installed on the shelves.

Some people even design theirs with a removable tray on the cabinet’s bottom.

You will not be forced to place furniture above the sink in this case.

Common Mistakes People Make When Drying Dishes

According to a study in the American Society for Microbiology  journal, kitchen towels have many pathogens that can cause food poisoning.

How is this possible?

Well, it is caused by some avoidable mistakes that we make, including;

1. Wiping Other Things With Dish Towels

Please note that there is a reason they are called dish towels. It means they are to be used solely on dishes.

But how many times have you wiped a spillage on your kitchen countertop with a dishtowel or used it for another purpose?

You may think that doing that has no harm.

But it increases the spread of bacteria in your kitchen items.

2. Not Having A Hand Towel In Your Kitchen

When preparing a meal, for instance, raw meat, most people only tend to rinse their hands with plain water and dry them with a dishtowel.

Now, most foods contain a lot of bacteria. So when you wipe your hands without rinsing them properly with a dish towel, you transfer the bacteria on your towel.

It’s always advisable to wash your hands with soap once you finish handling food, but another important tip is to have a hand towel specifically for wiping your hands.

This prevents germs from getting on the dish towel that you use to wipe dishes.

3. Using A Wet Towel

Bacteria thrive in a warm and moist place.

So, a wet towel will encourage the growth of these organisms.

Always make sure you dry your towel after each use.

Final Thoughts

Paper towels are arguably a common product in many homes.

However, they may not be safe, and neither are they the best choice.

If you don’t want to use these towels anymore, there are many replacements to consider. Simply pick one that works for you.