The bathroom can be the one spot in your home that you seek out for the utmost in rest and relaxation, but did you know that this domestic sanctuary may actually be secretly harboring a hotbed of bacteria? Although many germs are not harmful to humans and being exposed regularly can strengthen the immune system, limiting the number of bacterial risks is a good idea. Here’s how to tackle the germiest spots that you may have overlooked during your local cleaning routine, where bacteroidaceae, E.coli, streptococcus and salmonella like to hide. Spoiler alert: the toilet isn’t the worst.
Perhaps the most shocking and disturbing finding is that the one item you put into your mouth every day is actually awash with bacteria. According to a previous study at the University of Manchester, your toothbrush can be home to staphylococci bacteria and E. coli. There’s no need to panic though, since most of the germs you’d find here already exist in your mouth, and you won’t likely fall ill from this exposure. Simply make sure that you store your toothbrush somewhere it can dry out between uses and ensure that you replace it regularly.
With cracks and crevices where mold and bacteria like to hide, the moist and warm shower sponge traps dead skin cells, hair follicles and the dirt you wash off, which then become a perfect food source for germs. If you can’t bear to ditch your loofah completely, take it out of the shower to dry and replace it with a new one every three to four weeks.
According to a study by public health organization NSF International, sink handles contain 600 times more microorganisms per square inch than a toilet handle. Since you touch it before and after you wash your hands, there’s a lot of opportunity for bacterial growth, which you can avoid by simply wiping it down with a disinfectant or a bleach solution to keep it sparkling clean.
Containing more microorganisms per square inch than a toilet seat, according to the NSF study, the door handle is often touched after using the toilet, so washing your hands properly afterwards is your first line of defense. Even though Health Canada recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, only about 51 per cent of people in high-income countries with greater access to handwashing facilities wash their hands with soap after “potential fecal contact,” according to a recent report in the International Journal of Epidemiology. So if you’re afraid people in your household might be spreading germs, give the handle a spray with disinfectant to keep it fresh between cleanings.
Not only does the bathmat accumulate some excess bacteria from the toilet but it’s also the perfect breeding ground for mould, as it soaks up extra water when we exit the shower. Avoiding the growth of bacteria can be minimized with a few simple steps such as hanging up the bathmat along with your towels after showering, and giving it a quick spritz of disinfecting spray. The spray works to fight mould from growing, giving you ample time to enjoy a clean mat before the next laundry day.