If you think your bathroom is the place where you get clean, you might be in for a gross reality check. Although many of us treat our bathrooms as our own private sanctuary, it might be a lot dirtier than you think.
We spend so much time in the bathroom — an average of 416 days of our lives, in fact. That’s equivalent to over one week every single year.
Despite the amount of time people spend in their bathrooms, many people aren’t cleaning their bathrooms as much as they should. We aren’t just talking about the obvious things like toilet seats, sinks and towels — ironically, your shower might be the grossest part of your entire bathroom.
Looking to find out about people’s real cleanliness habits, we surveyed over 3,000 Americans to find out the dirty truth about Americans’ home bathrooms.
We asked our survey respondents how often they clean their bathrooms, and what we found might surprise (or disgust) you.
According to our research, only 38 percent of respondents clean their bathroom at least once a week:
Cleaning the tub and toilet is the most dreaded task by Americans. But if you’re part of the 42 percent of Americans who clean their bathroom once a month or less, you might not have considered just how gross it really is — or where those germs are actually coming from.
A recent study looked at colony-forming units (CFU), or the number of microorganisms in a test sample, and found that toilet seats hold an average of 235,000 CFU. While this may seem like a lot, it’s dwarfed compared to the number of CFU in your shower.
The shower floor holds an average of 15.8 million CFU, and shower curtains hold the top spot with over 16.2 million CFU — over 60X more than your toilet seat. Although shower curtains hold the top spot for bathroom bacteria, more than half of Americans only wash their shower curtain every six months or less. Even grosser, that number jumps up to nearly three-quarters who was their shower curtain once a month or less.
According to Jason Tetro, microbiologist and visiting scientist at the University of Guelph, shower curtains should be disinfected weekly — and unfortunately, less than 20 percent of Americans are holding up to Tetro’s standards. So what happens when you skip out on washing your shower curtain?
Although many people are guilty of washing their shower curtains less than recommended, it’s not due to a lack of noticing. According to our research, 29 percent of Americans have willingly ignored grime on their shower curtains.
So if Americans are so willing to turn a blind eye to a dirty shower curtain, what other gross bathroom habits do they admit to?
Unfortunately, grimy curtains aren’t all you have to worry about in your shower. We wanted to find out what other gross shower habits American’s admit to, and what we found out might make you want to grab the soap.
With over one in three Americans admitting to both reusing a disposable razor and using a towel for over a week, we realized that American’s home bathroom habits might be even worse than we think. The most common gross bathroom habits Americans admit to having include:
Reusing a disposable razor a few extra times is no big deal, right? Although 40 percent of Americans agree, you may be surprised to find that an old razor can actually cause microscopic tears in your skin that increase the risk of infection.
Experts recommend swapping your bathroom towels every other day — an amount that may seem surprising to the one-third of Americans who consistently use their towels for more than a week. This is because bathroom towels become loaded with staph and fecal bacteria, which can compound when your towel isn’t fully dried out between uses. Additionally, if you use a hair towel, you may be unintentionally spreading dandruff-causing fungi.
Other common bathroom habits that Americans admit to include using a loofah for more than a month (23 percent), skipping hand washing (21 percent) and brushing their teeth on the toilet (13 percent).
When it comes to loofahs, women were 80 percent more likely to use theirs past the date. However, when we took a look at hand-washing habits, men are 40 percent more likely to admit that they’ve skipped washing their hands after doing the doo.
While only 13 percent of respondents admit to brushing their teeth on the toilet, it’s worth noting that your toothbrush can still be ripe with bacteria by just sitting in your bathroom. After flushing the toilet, fecal matter can become airborne and get nestled in your toothbrush — which is why experts suggest replacing it every three to four months.
If you’re a renter, it can be hard to make a small bathroom feel warm and welcoming. Even if you’re working with limited real estate, smart bathroom organization can take your space from run-of-the-mill to the ultimate space for chill.
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This survey information and related graphics are available for fair use. Please properly credit and link to the survey information from this Apartment Guide page.