Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Germs in the Bathroom

    Changing a few habits and doing some spring cleaning around the calendar can help keep your bathroom sterile. Check out these 10 tips.
    By
    WebMD Feature

    While bathrooms are not as populated with germs as kitchens, they still harbor their share of illness-causing bacteria lurking everywhere from the sink faucet to the towels.

    But changing some habits and doing spring cleaning around the calendar can help make your bathroom about as sterile as an operating room.

    Recommended Related to Parenting

    Real Life Stay-at-Home Husbands

    By Hilary Stout Most women have known — and probably dated — a guy like Todd Gottlieb. A self-described "hard-core bachelor," he was never going to get married, and he was certainly never going to have children. Life in Southern California was good: golfing, camping, trips to Vegas with the boys — not to mention dates with "fantastic ladies." His biggest emotional commitment was to the San Diego Chargers. Today, Todd is a married father of two. Forget Vegas — the 38-year-old could...

    Read the Real Life Stay-at-Home Husbands article > >

    Here are 10 tips to stop germs in the bathroom:

    Color code hand and bath towels.
    "This way everyone has their one color so family members don't swap towels and viruses, " says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai in New York City, and the author of The Good Doctor's Guide to Colds and Flu. "If people are burrowing their faces in towels, they are doing more than drying off, they are depositing germs." If you don't want to color-code, use a waterproof magic marker on white towels, so every family member knows which one is theirs, he suggests.

    Don't share toothbrushes.
    Make sure everyone has their own toothbrush by color-coding them, Schachter says. "Don't let your toothbrush make contact with any other toothbrushes stored in the same holder either. Germs can be passed along that way," he says. "A good rule of thumb is to keep them at least an inch apart." Replace your toothbrush regularly after you've had any illness such as a cold or flu because germs can remain even after you've recovered. Here's why: When you brush, you remove plaque and particles so toothbrushes can become contaminated with bacteria, blood, saliva, and oral debris. This contamination can be passed right back to you.

    Always flush with the lid down.
    According to Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of microbiology at University of Arizona in Tucson, flushing the toilet with the lid up is not wise. "Polluted water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl and it can take several hours for these particles to finally settle -- not to mention where," he says. "If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet, you are brushing your teeth with what's in your toilet."

    Wipe down high-touch surfaces.
    Use disinfectant spray or wipes on faucets, toilet flushers, cupboard handles, doorknobs, shower door handles, and any other area that you touch with your hands, Schachter says. "These sprays or wipes kill germs on contact." The rhinoviruses that cause colds can survive up to three hours, so cleaning surfaces with disinfectant may help stop infections, according to the National Institutes of Health. "Don't forget the toilet brush handle and plunger handle," adds Paul Horowitz, MD, the medical director of Pediatric Clinics at Legacy Health System in Portland, Ore. "These are high-touch areas that we don't think about, let alone clean."

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    acupuncture needle on shoulder
    10 tips to look and feel good.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.