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Research reveals the dirty truth about our bathrooms

We might assume our bathroom is the cleanest room in the house; after all, it is the place we go to get clean. However, bathrooms play host to millions of bacteria, which can thrive due to the warmth and moisture a bathroom holds, which can become potentially harmful to your health; particularly if you suffer low immunity, asthma and/or allergies. Therefore, bathrooms require a fair bit of cleaning and if you stay on top of cleaning your bathroom  and toilet regularly; these nasty bugs shouldn’t be an issue.

Research has found we spend a whopping six months of our lives in the bathroom, and a further four and a half months cleaning it. For somewhere we spend a significant amount of time, thorough cleaning should be top priority. Thus, at, we were interested in discovering whether UK residents are cleaning their bathrooms and bathroom items as much as they should. We conducted a survey of 1,200 UK residents on how often they clean their bathrooms and items in their bathrooms. Some of the results were rather shocking…

– Toothbrush holder: just 15% reported cleaning their toothbrush holder regularly, and 18% admitted to never cleaning it at all!

– Toothbrush: 8% Use the same toothbrush for a year. Only a quarter (25%) of those surveyed replace their toothbrush the recommended every 3 months, and 8% stated using the same toothbrush for a year.

– Towels: Only 36% washed their towels the recommended amount of 3-5 washes. It is recommended to wash your towels every 3-5 uses – something done by just 36% of those sampled.

– Bath mat: The survey found that almost half (48%) wash their bath mat the recommended once a week. Furthermore, 32% stated only washing their bath mat once a month.

– Shower head: Only 22% of those surveyed clean their shower head regularly and 27% have never cleaned it at all.

Over half of those surveyed (56%) are not cleaning their bathroom and bathroom items as much as they should – instead cleaning it when it ‘seems dirty’ and/or less than once a week.


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Here we look at some of the most common issues people find in their bathroom and how to prevent and/or deal with them, and reveal further results from our survey:

– Damp/mould

You might find certain patches in your bathroom, most often the walls and ceilings, where mould frequently grows. This is probably due to a constant stream of moisture and condescension without having the appropriate ventilation.

To prevent or at least reduce this issue:

Open the door and windows after a shower/ bath. If you do not have windows, ensure the fan is turned on to the appropriate setting and that it is big enough for your bathroom.

Wipe down the floor and walls after a shower to eliminate some of the moisture.

stretch out your shower curtain after use.Clean the bathtubs , sanitaryware like  toilets and toilet seats weekly.

Dust your bathroom weekly.Wipe your bathroom mirrors often.

Assess your bathroom for leaks.

Paint your ceiling/walls with glossy or anti-fungal paint.


Photo credit: Pumbastyle / Shutterstock

To remove current mould

Scrub with detergent and water, leave for 15 minutes and then rinse off. Repeat if necessary.

Get hold of some fungicide cleaning products that will kill the bacteria before it has a chance to grow into visible mould.

Other places germs can thrive in your bathroom…

– Toothbrushes

You should ensure you rinse out your toothbrush properly after use, using hot water and do not use the same toothbrush for over 3 months. Toothbrushes can host up to 10 million germs, including staphylococci and e-coli; which can cause skin problems such as boils and impetigo.

Some research has even found fecal germs on the toothbrush from the toilet flush. To avoid this, store your toothbrush at least 2 metres away from your toilet.

Germs like the dark so do not store it inside a cupboard, instead leave it out in the open.


Photo credit: Studio ART / Shutterstock

– Toothbrush holders

Research by the National Sanitation Foundation found toothbrush holders to be the third most germ-ridden household item, behind dish sponges and kitchen sinks. Of those tested, 27% had coliforms, 64% had mould, and 14% had Staphylococcus.

To prevent this rinse your toothbrush holder ever 3-5 days with hot water and use a small brush to scrub thoroughly in between the slots.

– Shower head

Showerheads provide the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive; they are warm, moist and dark. Research has found up to 29 varieties of microbes on shower heads, which can get blasted out when the shower is turned on!

To prevent this from happening, clean your shower head weekly by mixing boiling water with white vinegar and scrubbing it thoroughly with a brush or rough sponge.


Photo credit: Jordi Prat Puig / Shutterstock

– Bath mat

The bath mat gets damp frequently and its close contact with the floor means it can host some nasty bugs, particularly if it is not given enough time to dry properly after use.

The mat should be washed at least weekly but it all depends on how much use it gets and what it’s made of. It should state on the label how often it can be washed and at what temperature so have a look at this.


Photo credit: Wiiin / Shutterstock

– Hidden spots (especially underneath)

There are many areas of bathrooms that get very dirty which we don’t see as they are tucked away. The underneath of taps is one example. Ensure you scrub them weekly with a toothbrush and hot water and wipe off the water with a cloth to avoid water marks. Behind the sink can also collect a lot of dust if not wiped regularly.

– Shower curtain

The shower curtain can easily grow mould if it’s not given the opportunity to dry. Ensure you stretch it out fully after use and shake it to remove extra moisture. Good ventilation in your bathroom is also important to prevent this.


Photo credit: gmstockstudio / Shutterstock

– Towels

Post-shower, all the dead skin cells on your body will be rubbed into your towel, leaving it full of dead skin cells and bacteria. In fact, over our lifetime we shed 5 stone worth of dead skin! Therefore, it is important to machine wash your towel at a hot temperature every 3-5 uses.


Photo credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock


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