These 10 items in your bathroom need to be replaced more frequently than most. Remember, the longer you wait, the grottier they get.
Replace every three to four months
Keep your toothbrush far away from your toilet, as every time you flush, a plume of pooey bacteria is released into the air. Rinse it thoroughly after each use, let it dry completely, and replace as soon as the bristles show any sign of splaying. And remember, toothbrushes – even your old ones – have a second life as your most underrated cleaning tool.
Wash at least once a week
An obvious hot spot for germs, bathmats exist to soak up shower water and spend the most time pressed up against your dirty bathroom tiles. Gross, right? Launder yours at least once a week on the hottest setting with half of cup of bleach. (Or follow the mat’s washing instructions, especially if they’re the rubber kind.) Make sure you keep it separate from your bedding, clothes and underwear!
3. Loofahs, sponges and poufs
Replace every three weeks
These bathing accessories can quickly become bacterial breeding grounds. We may soap them up and wring them dry, but they contain lots of nooks and crannies for fungal organisms to hide in. We also hang them in the shower, where they have little chance to dry completely. Replace them frequently and use them gently – never scrubbing too vigorously. Also avoid using them after shaving – as bacteria can enter the skin through any nip or scratch – and keep them far from your face, and your privates!
4. Hand towels
Wash every couple of days – or even daily
They may look pretty and decorative, but they soon become nasty vessels of yuck as you use them more than once a day. Change every couple of days – or even every day if you have a large family or lots of housemates. Simply toss them in the washing machine on the hottest setting, add in two cups of white vinegar, and then wash again on a regular setting with a regular detergent. Avoid using liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets if you want to keep them soft and fluffy – they can reduce the absorption factor of terry cloth.
5. Laundry basket
Wash every week – or whenever you can
Avoid risk of contamination by keeping separate hampers for clean and dirty clothes. Think of all the nasty bacteria from your sweaty gym gear, underwear and soiled towels that end up on the edges! If you use a cloth hamper, try to wash it along with the clothes inside. And if you use a plastic basket, give it a wipe down with a surface disinfectant every week or so.
6. Make-up brushes
Wash every two weeks
Look closely and you may be shocked by the build-up of gunk! Your make-up brushes regularly come into contact with your face and should be cleaned at least once a fortnight. Rinse the bristles out with a soapy solution made using one part baby shampoo and four parts water. Blot the bristles with a clean towel, and then use a hairdryer to dry them completely.
7. Bath towels
Wash every three to four uses
Just because you associate towels with cleanliness doesn’t mean they themselves are clean! Overused towels can become riddled with anal and urinary fluid, fungi, dead skin cells and nasty germs, including the dreaded staph infection! Laundering your towels once a week (or whenever it begins to smell musty) isn’t nearly enough – you ought to be washing it every three uses. And never share towels with others – even family members – as this is how infections spread. If yours are looking worse for wear – multiple trips to the washer and dryer can do that – donate them to your local animal shelter and find yourself some new ones.
8. Shower curtain and liner
Wash as needed
Use your eyes. How often you need to wash or replace it depends on how quickly it develops scum, mould or mildew. The build-up is usually determined by factors such as what shower products you use, the humidity levels in your bathroom and how well ventilated it is. If you do notice any sign of mould, try a cold wash using detergent and half a cup of bleach. And toss in a few towels to prevent the liner from getting damaged.
9. Contact lenses case
Replace every three months, at least
When was the last time you replaced your contact lenses case? Has it been so long you don’t remember? Bacteria from your fingers and the surrounding environment builds up in the case over time. To avoid irritations and infection, keep it somewhere dry, always wash your hands with soap and water before handling it and rinse with solution to sanitise between replacements.
10. Wash cloths
Wash after every use
Face wash cloths have a nasty reputation in the beauty industry for harbouring bacteria – they become soaked and heavily soiled with each use, especially when used to scrub away makeup and dead skin cells. And then there are the times your roommate’s boyfriend has seen it hanging on the rack and mistaken it for a hand towel. To prevent breakouts, use a fresh one everyday.
Would you add anything else to the list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Written by Kathleen Lee-Joe. First appeared on Domain.com.au.