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Bath Towels

When towels remain damp for 20 minutes or longer, mildew and bacteria, which thrive in moist environments, can breed, says Reynolds, who found MRSA on 18 percent of the towels she and her team tested in people’s homes. Every time you reuse a tainted towel, you may be increasing your chances of developing (or aggravating) allergies and rashes, or (rarely) contracting a more serious infection, she says.

Clean up: Make sure towels air out quickly after each use. If a set of hooks isn’t cutting it, consider spreading them out over a stand-up or wall-mounted rack. An even better option for those whose bathrooms are particularly terrarium-like: Toss the whole load in the dryer after everyone has showered. After three or four uses, launder towels in hot water and chlorine bleach (for whites) and dry on high to root out any remaining bacteria. If you can’t kill the mildew smell, it’s time for new towels.

(Floortje/Getty Images)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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