Shocking survey reveals that 5% of men wash their towels only once a year

Health authorities advise that towels can spread germs if not washed frequently. File image.

Health authorities advise that towels can spread germs if not washed frequently. File image.

Published Feb 7, 2024


As Valentine’s Day approaches, take this opportunity to check out the state of your partner’s towels, girls.

This is as shocking new research has found that men are five times more likely to clean their towels just once a year, with 5% confessing to an annual wash.

The study, conducted by Showers to You, a UK bathroom supply store, surveyed 2 200 people and discovered that many were using their towels for much longer, before giving them a freshen-up.

Experts argue that each towel should be washed after three uses but the research also found almost one in 10 of the surveyed participants only wash their bathroom towels twice a year.

In addition, the Showers to You research also found that a third of those (33%) surveyed wash their bathroom towels just once every three months.

The study also revealed that men are five times more likely to go a year without washing their towels.

But it’s not all bad news as almost one in five (38%) respondents stated that they wash their towels once a month, almost a quarter (24%) washing their towels once a week and one in 20 (5%) health-conscious residents washing their towels every single day.

Showers to You founder Martin Smith added that while the bathroom should in theory be one of the cleanest rooms in the home, this isn’t always the case.

“While it’s encouraging to see the data shows the majority of respondents are keeping up with regularly washing their bathroom towels, everyone should ensure they are ensuring a regular routine of washing their towels in line with guidance from health professionals, especially for those who only give their towels an annual wash.”

Meanwhile, 67% of respondents explained that visual uncleanliness is the most common factor that causes people to wash their bathroom towels.

In addition, 67% of respondents said they washed their towels if these had an odour, but more worryingly, one in six respondents stated they would only wash their towels once they had become stiff.

While the study found that one in nine respondents aren’t concerned at all by bacteria or hygiene issues stemming from not washing their bathroom towels, health authorities advise that towels can spread germs if not washed frequently.

Commenting on the research, Dr Hamdan Abdullah Hamed, MBChB, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of, insisted that it is crucial to maintain proper hygiene in everyday routines, including the use and care of bathroom towels.

“Regular washing of bathroom towels is important to maintain cleanliness and reduce the risk of infections,” he said.

Hamed added that towels tend to accumulate moisture, creating an environment conducive to bacterial and fungal growth.

“Bacteria like staphylococcus aureus can lead to skin infections, while fungi like Candida yeast can cause issues like athlete’s foot or yeast infections.”

Additionally, he said that dirty towels may contain allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or skin irritations in sensitive individuals.

“Therefore, it is recommended to wash towels after every three to four uses to eliminate bacteria, dirt, dead skin cells, and allergens, ensuring optimal hygiene and minimising health risks.”