Many are wary of bathroom germs, especially in public bathrooms. But did you know that your bathroom at home can be just as germy? The good news is that you can keep most of these germs at bay. And the surprising news? Most of them aren’t all huddling around your toilet.
Find out more about the germiest places in your bathroom and how to keep them clean and prevent germs from spreading!
The Germiest Place in Bathrooms
Everyone’s #1 suspect: the toilet. And while it certainly still makes the list, the toilet is not the worst of them. A study conducted by home safety nonprofit SafeHome found that your shower curtain and shower floor carry 60 times more bacteria than your toilet seat! Why? It’s largely due to the lingering moisture that creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
The research found that these are the top six places where germs commonly thrive in modern American homes:
- Shower curtains
- Shower floors
- Toothbrush handles
- Toilet seats
- Faucet handles
- Interior door handles
Bathroom Germs and Bacteria
Unfortunately, the top three dirtiest places in bathrooms carry some potentially harmful germs that can also be resistant to antibiotics.
The most common types of dangerous bacteria found in bathrooms are:
- E. coli
- Staphylococcus aureus (staph)
Additionally, other germs and viruses found include:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Herpesvirus (herpes)
It’s important to note, however, that almost all humans carry around these germs.
The biggest concern with these germs is when they become harmful due to a lack of cleaning or personal hygiene practices, and then spread between other people. The best thing to do is keep your bathroom clean and maintain sanitary practices when in your own or others' bathrooms.
How Do Germs Spread in Bathrooms?
It’s all thanks to our hands. Everything you touch before and after going into the bathroom can further spread germs in and outside of that space. This is why although it’s become normalized to use our phones in bathrooms, germs are much more likely to spread this way. Because we’re constantly touching our phones between touching everything else inside our homes, these germs continue to spread.
Another major culprit for germs spreading in bathrooms is the toilet. But not in the way you might be thinking. Ironically, the SafeHome study found that the germs from toilets were the only strain to be potentially helpful to humans. So, touching the toilet or handle isn’t necessarily the issue, it’s the flushing without the lid down that can cause germs to linger in the air and attach to various surfaces.
Lastly, the dark damp corners are where these airborne bacteria land and begin to grow and spread.
How to Prevent the Spread of Bathroom Germs
The best way to prevent these germs from lingering and spreading inside your bathroom is by following these tips:
- Always wash your hands. Your hands do a lot of the work when it comes to spreading germs. The best thing you can do to prevent that is make sure they’re clean before you go around grabbing every handle, doorknob, towel, or item in the bathroom.
- Clean your bathroom regularly. Once a week is ideal. Make sure to give your toilet, shower, sink, and toothbrush holder a good scrub. And don’t forget to wipe down your door handle and switch out your hand towel!
- Scrub your grout and caulk. This is where a lot of bad bacteria can linger and even result in mold. Mix 3/4 cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and use that with a scrub brush to clean your grout and caulk.
- Install a bidet. Using a bidet is far more hygienic than using toilet paper because it offers a hands-free wipe. Not to mention, bidets also help reduce the likelihood of toilet paper clogs and in turn, sewage backups. Follow these steps to install a bidet, or call your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for help!
- Ventilate. If your bathroom isn’t properly ventilated, or you’re neglecting to use your exhaust fan when showering, then all of that trapped moisture can quickly lead to bacteria and mold growth.
- Flush lid-down. Studies have shown that droplets produced by flushing toilets harbor both bacteria and viruses. And because those particles were found on surfaces in bathrooms after flushing, this indicates that they remain airborne long enough to settle on those surfaces.
- Rinse your toothbrush. Your toothbrush handle especially carries far more bacteria and viruses because of the germs on your hands, and the fact that it’s not often rinsed. Whenever you finish using your toothbrush, give the whole thing – handle and all – a quick rinse. If you have an electric toothbrush, just be careful you aren’t oversoaking vulnerable areas. Most toothbrushes are water resistant, not necessarily waterproof.
- Have your drains cleaned. Bathroom drains can easily become clogged with dirt, debris, and hair. Over time, even if that buildup breaks down, biofilm can linger behind and harbor bacteria and mold. This can result in the spread of this bacteria elsewhere in your bathroom. To prevent this, schedule annual drain cleaning services.
- Install touchless faucets. Cleaning your hands can be a bit counterintuitive if, after doing so, you need to touch a dirty faucet handle to turn it back off. Installing touchless faucets can reduce this continued spread of germs.
- Upgrade your toilet. Some toilet options are more sanitary due to their easier-to-clean design, or antimicrobial seat surface. If you need help selecting or installing a new toilet, count on our licensed plumbers.
Related Content: 7 Tips for a Cleaner Toilet
Need Bathroom Upgrades to Keep the Germs Away?
When it comes to bathroom germs, sometimes the surface cleanup isn’t enough to greatly reduce their spread.
More sanitary fixtures like bidets or touchless faucets, or certain sink, shower, or toilet upgrades can make a huge difference in the reduced spread of germs. For bathroom upgrades or plumbing repairs, count on the licensed plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Call us at 1-877-BEN-1776 or book an appointment online.