Research has found that 70% of dishcloths and sponges in use in kitchens carried some form of pathogen, while 20% harbored salmonella and staphylococcus – the most common causes of food-borne illness.

The practice of cleaning up after working with uncooked meats and then using the same cloth elsewhere in the kitchen was potentially the most dangerous. 

The research suggested that most food-borne illnesses in the home could be prevented by using paper towels and disposing of them immediately.

The research was carried out in 1995 by a team from the University of Arizona.

 See also the study at the page: the infection risk associated with clothing and household linens