Can You Get Herpes from a Dirty Towel?

What is Herpes?

Herpes [1] is a common sexually transmitted disease (STI) [2]. Two categories exist:

  • Oral herpes is typically caused by HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type 1).
  • Genital herpes is typically caused by HSV-2, a kind of herpes simplex virus.

Intimate contact with the skin and bodily fluids—saliva, vaginal secretions, and semen—of a carrier of the virus results in the transmission of both types of herpes. Rarely, hard objects contaminated with the virus, like a cup, toothbrush, or lipstick, might spread oral herpes.

On permeable surfaces, like a towel, herpes cannot survive or flourish. This is why using someone else’s towel won’t cause you to contract oral or genital herpes.

Learn more about the bacteria you can catch from a dirty towel and the main methods of genital and oral herpes transmission by reading on.