'Sixty times more bacteria than a loo seat': The bathroom bits you need to deep-clean

·5-min read
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Brits are replacing their toothbrushes less often than they should be. (Getty Images)

We’re probably all a little guilty of not changing bathroom essentials such as our toothbrush and bath towels as often as we should.

But while it can seem like a chore to wash, replace or clean certain everyday bathroom items, not doing so can actually lead to an influx of some pretty gross bathroom nasties. 

That's because not regularly replacing essentials can lead to a build up of dirt and bacteria which can have a knock-on impact on health. 

And turns out we should all be upping our bathroom cleaning game in a pretty major way. 

Here's how often we need to be replacing bathroom essentials and what could happen if we don't. (Clue: its pretty grim!)

Read more: Did you know you should clean your toothbrush? This is how to do it

How often should you change your toothbrush?

Everyone (well, nearly everyone) would agree that brushing your teeth is a non-negotiable part of a personal hygiene routine, but did you realise it is also important to keep your toothbrush clean and/or replace it regularly?

Over time, the bristles of your toothbrush start to fray, meaning that they collect some of that harmful bacteria that you’re washing off your teeth and gums every day.

Turns out, however, that some of us aren't replacing our toothbrushes nearly enough. 

Recent research by PlumbNation, found that the majority of people (43%) replace theirs every three months, which is exactly what the experts recommend.

But there's still a substantial number who leave it way longer, with almost a fifth (19%) changing theirs every six months, 10% doing so once a year, and 11% less frequently than that.

This all tots up to a whopping 40% of people changing their toothbrush less frequently than they should.

"Your toothbrush should be replaced every three months if you want to maintain a consistent level of oral hygiene," explains Jordan Chance, bathroom expert at PlumbNation

"Replacing it beyond 12 weeks can negatively affect your oral health, leaving your mouth open to bacteria growth and infections, such as thrush." 

Watch: 10 Bathroom Cleaning Hacks that Use Household Items for a Quicker Clean

As well as regularly changing your toothbrush, you should also try to keep it clean too. 

According to research, your toothbrush can be home to more than 10 million bacteria. That’s more than you’d find on a regular toilet seat. 

Your toothbrush is often near your toilet bowl. Each time you flush, the aerosolised mist of the water lands around on the surrounding area. 

While you should start by flushing with the lid down, you could also consider rinsing your toothbrush and letting it air dry before putting it back in its place. 

"Make sure to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after every use and let it dry upright," adds Chance. 

Read more: Wash your tea towel daily to avoid food poisoning

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Only 9% of us are cleaning our shower curtains as often as we should. (Getty Images)

How often should you change or clean your shower curtain?

It seems the issue of how often to change or clean your shower curtain is much more divisive.

While a grubby third admit they have never washed or changed their shower curtain, a distinctly more hygienic quarter were frequent cleaners, doing so at least monthly.

The truth is that just 9% of people are changing or cleaning their shower curtain as frequently as they should, as it's recommended it should be cleaned every six months.

That's because shower curtains are virus magnets and can attract disease-causing bacteria. 

“Shower curtains are a further bathroom habitat for bacteria and germs alike, they’re even believed to harbour 60 times more bacteria than your toilet seat," explains Chance. 

"If you fail to clean your shower curtain at least once a month you are increasing the chances of mould and mildew, both of which can create an awful odour."

If you do start to spot mould, mildew and other buildup, don’t hesitate to give it a wash. You can clean your curtain regularly with the hand-shower at the end of your bath. 

Also consider washing it on a gentle cycle of your washing machine.

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(Getty Images)

How often should you change or wash your towels?

Turns out we need to up our towel washing game too.

While just over a third (34%) are washing their towels after every three uses, which is what science recommends, a decidedly more lax 40% are happy to leave their towels longer than this, with 24% saying they would wash every six uses, and 18% saying they would wait at least ten uses. Bleugh!

But bath towels collect a host of microorganisms after a few uses, which thrive in a wet, damp environment, meaning that your shower or bath routine might not be as hygienic as you think.

“To keep your towels hygienic make sure to hang them up, allowing them to fully dry after each use," suggests Chance. 

"Your towels should ideally be washed after every three uses. If you leave them any longer they are more likely to spread viruses, fungi and bacteria, which in turn can lead to skin infections."

Read more: Cleaning your kitchen sponge isn’t preventing it festering with bacteria

According to a piece on Expert Home Tips, damp towels in the bathroom are known for becoming extreme breeding grounds for bacteria.

That’s why the website states that you should endeavour to put your bath or shower towels in the wash every three days on a 60-degree wash.

It isn't just your towels, shower curtain and toothbrush you need to keep germ-free, we should also be getting our clean on for other bathroom essentials too. 

“Take time to wash your toilet brushes, shower head, bath mats and loofahs, as these are also commonly forgotten about," Chance adds. 

Watch: Get your cleanest bathroom yet in seven simple steps

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