I like to think of myself as a "lazy germaphobe."
I'm always anxious to learn where germs are lurking in my home, and I want to get rid of them as easily as possible.
There are a lot of opportunities to clean up in the bathroom, since it's so messy by nature.
You may not realize it, but your small habits in this room are adding up to a big, germy mess.
Here are the most nastiest, most common mistakes people make:
1. You don't use the ceiling fan
My family is definitely guilty of this one.
A few months ago, we bought one of those scented aerosol sprays, and we’ve been using that to de-stink the bathroom instead of the ceiling fan. Big mistake.
The fan is not just for sucking up gross smells. It also vacuums away moisture that causes bacteria to grow all over the bathroom.
Leave your fan on when shower, and for up to 20 minutes afterwards.
2. Using your cellphone on the toilet
Confess: we know you’re guilty.
A study by Queen Mary, University of London found that 16% of phones were contaminated with E. coli - a potentially fatal bug linked to feces.
Now do you feel bad about pressing it to your face?
Washing your hands is a start, but you would have to disinfect your phone after bringing it into your washroom, so just do yourself a favor and read a book instead.
3. Keeping soap in a dish
You might think I’m pulling your leg about this - where else is soap supposed to go, after all?
Well, the thing is that not all soap dishes are clean and healthy.
Does yours have holes on the underside? Good. That lets the soapy water drain out of the dish.
If yours doesn’t have those holes? Swap it out fast. It’s a breeding ground for germs.
4. Flushing with the lid up
A scrubbing bubbles survey found that 60% of people are happy to watch the water swirl when they flush their toilet.
In case you didn’t know: this is just plain nasty.
Water particles from your toilet can spout up to six feet when you flush - it’s just science - and that toilet water is loaded with harmful bacteria.
So keep that lid shut every time you flush!
5. Leaving makeup lying around
Like your toothbrush, makeup and moisture do not mix.
It’s convenient to keep your brushes and supplies sitting on the counter, until you get a nasty infection from the bacteria growing on them.
Beauty and health experts agree: keep your makeup stored in a box, or even another room if you can.
And don’t forget: both makeup and brushes have a best-before date.
6. Not washing your towels enough
When is the last time you washed your bathroom towels?
If your answer was more than three days ago, you’re in trouble.
It may seem excessive, but that’s how often experts say you should give your bath towels a scrub - hand towels should be swapped out even sooner.
If you’re the only person using your towel, you can get away with using it for about a week, but that’s all.
To make your towel last longer between washes, leave them hanging flat on the bar, so moisture can’t build up between the folds.
7. Storing your toothbrush in the wrong place
This essential bathroom tool is a lot more finicky than you might expect.
It definitely doesn’t belong in your medicine cabinet or a sealed container.
The brush needs to dry out between uses to keep bacteria from growing on it.
The American Dental Association says brushes should be stowed in an upright position, and not allowed to mingle with other brushes.
8. Keeping a lingering loofah
We all have one of these mesh shower scrubbers hanging in our bathrooms, whether or not it actually gets used.
But if your loofah has been hanging around in your bathroom for two months, or more, don’t even think of scrubbing with it.
A natural loofah goes bad even faster - just one month - because dangerous P. aeruginosa bacteria spreads quickly on its surface.
If you feel bad about chucking your loofah so often, follow these steps to sanitize them or stop buying them altogether.
9. Ignoring your grubby shower curtain
I’ll be honest with you, I can’t even remember the last time I cleaned my shower curtains, and a survey says I’m not alone.
In a poll by Scrubbing Bubbles, 42% of people said they don’t clean this bathroom feature like they should.
Which is a shame - because these days most of them are machine washable.
Want to keep the curtain clean between uses? Resist the urge to push it to one side. Spreading the curtain out lets moisture escape from the fabric.
10. Walking barefoot on the floor
Yes, that’s right, even walking around on the bathroom floor can put you at risk.
And we don’t mean because you might slip and bump your head - although that’s a risk too.
The fact is the bathroom floor is the nastiest place in your home, brimming with 2 million bacteria per square inch.
Thankfully, this problem is easy to solve: clean the floor more regularly with a bleach solution, and buy yourself a pair of bathroom flip flops.
11. Not washing your hands correctly
Did your parents ever make you stand in front of the sink with a timer, washing your hands until the time ran out?
Mine did, and while it was a little annoying, they taught me a valuable lesson.
The Centers for Disease Control recommend a thorough cleaning that involves soap, hot water, and 20 seconds of thorough scrubbing.
But a study by Michigan State University found 95% of people spend less than 15 seconds washing their hands.
It’s a small difference, but it means a lot when you spend a weekend sick, lying in bed.
Are you guilty of any of these bad habits?
Here are more helpful health stories: