What Cannot Be Used To Dry Utensils? The Answer Might Surprise You

In the kitchen, there are certain things you can use to dry utensils and other things you can’t. If you’re not sure what to use and what not to use, we’ve got some answers for you.

Drying dishes is a very important step in keeping your kitchen clean and sanitary. When you’re done washing dishes, you need to make sure they are completely dry before putting them away. When you stack wet dishes together, bacteria can grow between them. This is why there are different ways to dry utensils.

When it comes to drying utensils, some people believe that anything and everything can be used for this purpose. However, the truth is there are certain items that cannot be used to dry dishes. The list compiled below discusses what cannot be used to dry utensils:

1) Towels

The most commonly believed item on the list is towels which many people use for drying their dishes. This practice has been carried forward from generation after generation and thus accepted as a norm in society. However, this belief of using towels to dry dishes has always been questioned by scientists and experts who claim that towels should never be used because they harbor dust mites and various allergens, which would eventually find their way into your food and affect your health adversely. This idea was also supported by Dr. Charles P. Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, in his work regarding dishcloths and towels, which were found to be soiled with bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus.

2) Sink stoppers

Another item on the list is sink stoppers because they are believed to hold germs and bacteria which grow in dark, damp places where there is moisture present. The water drains out through these holes, leaving behind all the harmful microorganisms that would eventually find their way into your food or dishes when you use them for drying purposes.

3) Tea towels

Tea towels are another popularly used item for drying dishes, but it has been proved that they are the worst items for the purpose. They are basically used to dry utensils by absorbing water from them, but what is not seen and taken into consideration is how dirty these towels actually are and how many diseases and infections they carry due to using them for since long. According to a study done at Clemson University, 94 – 96% of all tea towels collected were found to be contaminated with bacteria.

4) Dishwashing pads or sponges

Dishwashing sponges and pads also fall under this category as germs that grow on them due to moist conditions can lead to various skin-related issues such as itching, redness, inflammation, etc., according to Dr. Carl Conrad while speaking about dishcloths in general. Similar results were also obtained from a study conducted under the supervision of Dr. Rina Marie Ciccarello, an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Health, which revealed that these sponges tend to grow bacteria like e-coli, streptococcus and Klebsiella pneumonia which would not only affect your dishes but your health as well.

5) Synthetic towels

Synthetic towels are another popularly used item for drying dishes because they are believed to dry quickly. However, what many people do not realize is that synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester enable the growth of bacteria due to moisture present in them, which leads to infections. 

6) Woolen or chenille mop rags

Woolen or chenille mop rags are also another item on this list because they do more harm than good by promoting bacterial growth due to their nature which tends to retain moisture for longer periods of time. 

7) Bare hands

Another item on the list is bare hands which are also one of the most common items used for drying utensils because they are readily available and do not require much effort or time to be spent on them either. 

8) Drying containers

Drying containers have been suggested as an alternate way to dry your utensils because they have open mesh material inside them through which water can easily drain out, and this prevents the growth of bacteria or microorganisms because there is no presence of moisture inside them.

9) Cloth napkins

Cloth napkins are also highly recommended as they tend to dry utensils quickly and also promote quick draining of water from them due to their coarse structure and fibers, which enable the flow of air in between, which ensures that all the water gets drained out, leaving behind a completely dry dish or utensil.

10) Dish drying racks

Dish-drying racks are one of the most popularly used items for drying dishes today, but germs and bacteria tend to grow on them too because these racks usually have open holes in them through which moisture cannot escape hence leading to bacterial growth. 

However, it is also highly recommended not to use a paper towel as they tend to leave behind germs and bacteria on the dishes which you end up consuming after eating your meal or drinking water from them as well as cause more wastage instead of saving any resources for future use.

What Can You Use To Dry Dishes?

The best way to dry dishes is with a dishtowel. Dishtowels are highly absorbent and specially made to wick away moisture from your dishes as well as being durable enough for repeated use without fraying or tearing in the wash. The material of dishtowels is also mildew-resistant, so it won’t get moldy if it gets wet after some time.

So what should one do now?

One must try as much as possible to avoid using synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester clothes because these tend to retain water and promote the growth of bacteria on them. One should also ensure that one uses cloth napkins or dish drying racks for drying dishes and utensils instead of using these items as this would help reduce the risk of bacterial infections as well as promote saving resources for future use.


Washing dishes and utensils are not enough to prevent bacterial growth on them, and one must also ensure that the items used for drying them are of good quality so as to avoid any contamination or further spread of bacteria.

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