The bathtub is one dirty place…
When you go into the bathroom, it’s expected that you’re going to clean up in some way. Either in the bathtub, brush your teeth, or even after using the loo, you keep up with your basic hygiene in this room. But although you’re getting clean in the bathroom, that doesn’t mean the bathroom is completely clean with you. In fact, it can be infested with all kinds of germs.
One of the dirtiest places, of course, is the bathtub. It’s where you go to clean your body of any extra germs or grime that you’ve dealt with during the day. Although we would like to believe that the germs magically wash down the drain with the water and leave the bathtub sparkly clean, that’s obviously not the case. Bacteria can easily build up, especially on your shower curtain. (Watch out for these 15 everyday items that are dirtier than a toilet seat.)
In a study done by the American Society for Microbiology, it was revealed through testing that the biofilms (aka, what you may call “soap scum”) on the shower curtain even after a week of use hold an extensive amount of microorganisms, including Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium. These bacteria can be especially hazardous for immune-compromised patients and could be the cause of numerous issues including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, skin ulcers, and much more.
However, a regular cleaning practice will lower the risk of catching any of these diseases. In an interview with WebMD, Philip M. Tierno, Jr., PhD and clinical professor in the Department of Pathology at New York University, says that cleaning regularly and keeping up with basic hygiene will reduce the risk of getting sick from your bathroom. Only one to two per cent of all germs are pathogenic, so even though there’s a possibility of catching something, the risk is very low (if you’re keeping yourself, and the bathroom, clean).
You should disinfect weekly
It’s recommended to disinfect the bathtub (and shower curtain!) weekly, and deep clean it monthly. (Here are 20 things you should be cleaning with a toothbrush.)
Dan Allen, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, has quite a few recommendations when keeping your bathroom clean—including your shower. He recommends running the shower curtain through a hot cycle in the washing machine. In between uses, it’s best to leave the curtain closed after taking a shower, to let the curtain dry out.
Other sneaky items associated with your bathtub are also swimming in germs. For example, your loofa holds quite a bit of moisture, which can breed bacteria from the skin, and promote fungus and mould buildup. He says to throw it out monthly.
As for the rest of your bathroom, it’s important to give it a scrub on a regular basis as well. This is especially true if you flush with the toilet lid open—which can cause microbes full of infectious diseases to spray around your bathroom. If you don’t disinfect your bathroom, those pathogens could be living on your surface for weeks or even months at a time. (Here’s more on why you should always close the toilet lid when you flush.)
Now the bathtub and the toilet aren’t the only places infested with bacteria. According to WebMD, bathrooms can be the home of many other harmful germs that can live in various nooks and crannies. Some of these germs include gastrointestinal viruses which contains norovirus and other stomach ailments. Enteric pathogens (which comes from contaminated foods, and return, feces) which includes E.coli, salmonella, shigella, and campylobacter. There are also skin and respiratory organisms such as the “staph” bacteria (staphylococcus aureus), which causes serious skin infections. Dermatophitic fungi including “athlete’s foot,” which comes from walking barefoot on a contaminated floor. There’s also a slew of other residual fungi, such as mould and mildew, which can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms.
Again, if you keep a regular practice of cleaning the bathroom, the likelihood of these germs truly affecting you is very minimal. However, it’s important to note the proper ways to clean your bathroom. Because if you’re not properly cleaning it, the changes of getting sick obviously increase.
Next, check out these six bathroom renovation tips from the experts.