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My spouse gets very upset when I use the common kitchen dish-cloth to wipe my baby's hands and face after his feedings!!! The dish cloth is used to clean dishes in soapy water and wipe counter tops to clean up after cooking meals. The dish cloth is always rinsed with soapy water during most of its daily usage.

My spouse insists that I use a fresh or separate dedicated baby cloth to wipe my child's hands and face because she thinks the "general purpose dish cloth is dirty germ factory" and risks exposing my child to germs and unsafe/unpredictable risks to his health.

What do you think?

I for one think the obsession of "germ free" and "anti-bactirail" does more harm then good in the longer term.. and I for one have been wiping my face and mouth after a meal with the "Kitchen Dish Rag" since I can rememebr doing it on my own.. maybe since the age of 4 or 5.. so I am thinking that what's the harm with using the dish cloth with a 6 month old and later??

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Toddlers eat dirt and survive, sure. But infants haven't built up a solid immune system to deal with random dirt, so avoiding unnecessary exposure would be wise.

I'm sorry but I would agree with your wife. The problem is that a kitchen cloth is actually often not very clean because it's often not rinsed well between uses and isn't replaced often enough. Soapy water doesn't sanitize it.

If the rag is replaced with a clean one at least daily, and it's cleaned after use (washed, wrung, and dried; no foodstuff or liquids remaining), then the "dirty risk" is fairly low -- on the level that I'd use it myself in a pinch. But as I started saying, I would avoid using it on babies. It's such a small effort to use baby's own cloth, or a paper towel or wet napkin; why would you want to risk an illness just for that?

By the way, a sink cloth can be quickly sanitized by moistening it and then putting it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Careful: it will be clean but HOT afterward.

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Definitely - sink cloths carry a higher number of dangerous bacteria than most things in the house, including the toilet seat! – Rory Alsop Feb 4 '13 at 9:32
@RoryAlsop Unless you also have a sponge in the house... sponges make the best petri dishes! – Beofett Feb 4 '13 at 14:45

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