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Your towels should be replaced more often than you think — here's why

The ones in your kitchen and bathroom can get pretty gross.
Mom in the bathroom wrapping her child in an oversized white towel after their bath
Getty Images

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Don't remember the last time you cleaned your towels? You might want to stop what you're doing and throw them in the washing machine ASAP.

In fact, the hand, bath and kitchen towels in your home is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. According to Jason Tetro, a microbiologist and author of "The Germ Files," it can not only cause some unpleasant aromas, but it could also potentially lead to skin irritation or an infection.

To avoid this from happening, you should wash your bath towels at least once a week, Tetro recommended. For hand towels, which are used more regularly and not always on completely clean hands, you should switch them out every one to two days.

That said, with frequent washing comes quicker breaking down with towel's fibers and materials. While there's no official rule to follow about when you should replace your towels, you'll want to get rid of them when they start to lose their absorbency. (With many brands, that tends to happen around two years in.) In addition, if you have a towel that still has a funky odor after being washed, you may want to toss it, according to New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King.

Your kitchen towels are even worse germ offenders since they're used for many different things. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Mauritius concluded that 49 percent of kitchen towels had a high bacterial count, especially when used for multiple purposes.

With all that said, you may realize that you are way overdue for a replacement — or you at least need to add some new ones to your rotation for when all your others are in the laundry basket. Below, we rounded up several options for your kitchen and bathroom, including some that are specially designed to keep germs at bay.

Best bath towels, according to shoppers

American Soft Linen Towel Set

With over 13,000 verified five-star ratings, Amazon's bestselling towel set is made with 100 percent Turkish cotton and comes with all the essentials your washroom needs. It also comes in 15 colorways to match your home's color scheme.

The Pioneer Woman Bath Towel Set

We're obsessed with Ree Drummond's signature floral design aesthetic — and now you can bring that vibrant feeling into your bathroom with her new Walmart essentials collection. Of course, the line includes super comfortable (and fade-resistant) towels that remain as bright as The Pioneer Woman's personality.

Hammam Linen Bath Towels

This shopper-loved set from Amazon comes with four towels, so you'll always have one to swap in when you're behind on the wash. The extra-large soft cotton towels will make you feel like you're wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket every time you get out of the shower.

Parachute Classic Bath Towel

Not only are Parachute's bath towels incredibly soft, but they're quick-drying, too, thanks to the Aerocotton Technology which allows air to pass through the fibers more quickly. They come in six colors, and you can grab a single towel or an entire set — complete with two bath towels, hand towels and washcloths — for $136.

Pinzon Organic Cotton Bath Towel

Choose between colors like cranberry, navy, plum or cream for this six-pack towel set. Its impressive 12,000+ five-star ratings are thanks to reviewers proclaiming how much they love the softness and absorbency of these towels.

Nutrl Home Classic Bath Towel

These towels use polygeine technology to help keep odor and bacteria at bay. The waffle-textured towel is also lightweight and breathable.

Best hand and face towels, according to shoppers

Brooklinen Super-Plush Washcloths

You deserve a washcloth that feels as soft and luxurious as your bath towel. Fortunately, Brooklinen's got you covered with their bestselling option that's made with 100 percent Turkish cotton and a durable z-twist construction.

Martha Stewart Collection Quick Dry Reversible Hand Towel

Currently one of Macy's bestselling towels, this stylish pick is made with a lightweight, quick-drying cotton that feels as good as it looks.

Amazon Basics Fast Drying, Extra Absorbent, Terry Cotton Washcloths

According to one TODAY writer, not only are these towels thick and soft, but they'll make your bathroom feel like a spa. For less than $20, you'll get a 24-pack of washcloths, so you'll never be without one.

Tushy Bamboo Bidet Towels

OK, hear us out: while these towels from Tushy are technically made to be used on your behind, we think they'd make pretty good washcloths, too. They're soft, absorbent and come in packs of five. According to King, cloths made from bamboo are less likely to harbor yeast and bacteria. Plus, they're gentle on your skin.

Company Cotton Bamboo Cotton Blend Hand Towel

Made from a blend of quick-drying bamboo material and soft cotton, these towels give you the best of both worlds. You can choose between four color options and grab the hand towel or washcloth sizes — or both.

Qute Home Hand Towels Set

According to the brand, the plush cotton in these hand towels only gets softer with every wash. They're absorbent and quick-drying, so they're built to last. To maximize absorbency, the company recommends that you soak them in cold water for 12 hours before your first use and hang to dry. After that, you can throw them in the washing machine as you normally would.

Best kitchen towels, according to shoppers

Grove Collaborative Kitchen Towel

Durable, versatile and good for the planet, Grove Collaborative's kitchen towel set is made with 100 percent cotton and comes with hundreds of rave reviews backing them up. "As soon as you see these towels, you know you just bought something that will last a long time," added one verified shopper about their quality.

Utopia Towels Kitchen Towels

This 12-pack of towels currently has more than 27,000 five-star ratings. It comes with six solid and six gingham towels. Plus, you can choose between a variety of color options to match the aesthetic of your kitchen.

Homaxy Waffle Weave Kitchen Dish Cloths

According to Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of virology at the University of Arizona, you should never hang your kitchen towels on the handle of your refrigerator, because they can contaminate the handle. Instead, you should have a separate hanger to store them. Thankfully, these dish cloths have a handy hanging hook that makes that much easier to do. The honeycomb weave of these kitchen towels also makes them super lightweight and absorbent.

Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towels

With terry cloth on one side and a waffle texture on the other, these all-purpose pantry towels really can do anything. They're made from absorbent Turkish cotton and come in 10 color options.

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