20+ Bathroom Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making
These seemingly harmless bathroom habits may impact your health and hygiene.
You flush the toilet while the lid is up
Fecal matter and urine can fly as far as six feet away from the toilet bowl during each flush, according to Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona. Close the lid before you flush to keep those gross particles in your toilet and out of the air.
You throw sanitary wipes in the toilet
Many personal cleansing wipes aren’t as toilet-friendly as they claim to be. In fact, tests conducted by Consumer Reports showed that some wipes still couldn’t break down in the water after 10 minutes compared to regular toilet paper which disintegrated within seconds. These “flushable” wipes have been well known for clogging sewer systems in big cities like San Francisco and New York. Other toiletries that should never be flushed down the toilet include: sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, band-aids and dental floss.
Find out how to unclog a toilet without a plunger.
You pile your hair on top of your head as you shampoo
A recipe for tangled knots includes shampooing a pile of wet hair on top of your head, especially in people who have long hair. The best way to shampoo is to lather your hair in its natural position, whether that’s straight down your back for long hair or flat on your head for close-cropped hair, to give you softer, smoother locks.
Don’t miss these home remedies for dry and damaged hair.
You clean your ears with cotton swabs
Earwax may be gross, but it’s your eardrum’s best natural defense against dust and dirt. Chewing and talking help your jaw move the wax from your inner ear outward. But the moment you shove a cotton swab in your ear canal, you undo all of your body’s hard work! Cotton swabs push the wax back into your ear where it can get stuck. Limit your swabbing to just the external crevices of your ear and leave your ear canals alone.
You sit on the toilet too long
Some people like to use their toilet time to catch up on a good book or scroll through their phone. But there is a common health risk associated with sitting on the ceramic throne for too long: hemorrhoids. The seated position places a lot of pressure on the veins in your lower rectum which can swell or bulge and cause hemorrhoids. The most common symptom of hemorrhoids is rectal bleeding but you may experience itchiness or discomfort around the rectal area. Fortunately, hemorrhoids typically clear up within a week. Just remember that the toilet isn’t the time or place for “me” time.
Check out 12 home remedies for hemorrhoids.
You use a washcloth to clean your face
Moist things like your washcloth are the perfect paradise for bacteria to latch onto. The only surefire way to keep bacteria at bay is to grab a new washcloth before you wash your face each time. If a new washcloth seems a bit excessive for your daily routine, use your hands to scrub your face. And make sure you switch your towel out every couple of days too. Damp towels also harbour lots of bacteria.
Here are 11 everyday items you don’t wash nearly enough.
You clean surfaces at room temperature
Heating your tub, sink, and tiles just 10 degrees above the normal air temperature “doubles the effectiveness” of alkaline cleansers, Jenny Botero, resident manager of Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, told HGTV.com. For the best results, fill your tub or sink with the hottest water you can run from the tap. Let the piping hot water sit for a few minutes before you start scrubbing and cleaning surfaces.
Check out more pro tips on how to clean the dirtiest items in your home.
You keep your toothbrush too close to the toilet
Toothbrushes should be stored about four feet (1.2 metres) away—or more—from the toilet because, as noted above, fecal matter and urine can propel from the toilet bowl when you flush with the lid open. The sink is another area that’s off-limits since soap and dirty water can splash onto your toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends storing toothbrushes separately in an upright position in a dry area to prevent the risk of harboring bacteria and cross-contamination with other toothbrushes.
Discover more surprising things that are covered in fecal matter.
You use hot water to wash your hands
There’s no need to scorch your hands with hot water to kill germs, as studies show that lukewarm and cold water work just as effectively. Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee found that cold water did just as well as hot water at reducing levels of bacteria when people scrubbed, rinsed, and dried their hands properly. The study authors also noted that you’d need to wash your hands in boiling water at a whopping 100 degrees Celsius in order to notice any significantly greater reduction in pathogens. Plus, hot water dries your skin out more than cold and lukewarm water does.
Here are 14 diseases you can prevent simply by washing your hands.
You push out your poop too hard
Another risk factor for hemorrhoids is pushing too hard when you’re constipated. The harder you push, the more pressure you’re placing on the veins in your rectum, which may also lead to anal fissures, tiny tears in the lining of your anus. Try squatting for a few seconds instead of straining. Squatting naturally aligns your intestinal tract to help move things along with less effort. Or if that doesn’t work, pop a laxative to soften your stool.
Psst—this is the best position to poop.
You don’t wash your hands long enough
Twenty seconds is all it takes to give your hands a proper scrubbing with soap and water, according to the CDC. But at least 95 percent of people don’t wash their hands long enough to effectively kill germs based on a Michigan State University study. The average hand-washing time was less than half of the CDC’s recommendation—only six seconds. Need a clever way to keep track of time? Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to give you the perfect amount of time to properly clean your hands.
Find out 10 common hand washing mistakes.
You forget to clean your toothbrush
Researchers from the University of Manchester found about 10 million germs like E.coli on the average toothbrush. That’s icky bacteria no one wants to put in their mouth! It’s important to rinse your toothbrush well after each use and occasionally soak it in a cup of vinegar for about 30 minutes to get rid of any leftover bacteria. And make sure you replace your toothbrush every three months.
Here’s how to choose the best toothbrush for you.
The number one rule of wiping: Less is more. One or two wipes are usually all you need to clean yourself up after using the toilet. But wiping too much can irritate your anus and cause small abrasions that trigger inflammation and itch. If more than one wipe won’t suffice, switch to wet toilet paper or an unscented baby wipe to decrease the irritation and friction from wiping.
These daily habits promote healthy bowel movements.
You scrub your body too hard during washing
Aggressively scrubbing your skin with a washcloth or a loofah can remove the skin’s natural protective barrier. Instead, gently glide a cotton baby washcloth over the skin with as little rubbing as possible. Even using your hand to wash your body is good enough. Just be sure to switch out your loofah or washcloth regularly to avoid bacteria build-up.
Here are seven body parts you’re washing wrong.
You never clean behind the toilet
It may be disgusting to think about but urine and fecal matter does build up and leaves behind a grimy residue behind your toilet that is hard to scrub clean. Roll up some paper towels and dip them in an antibacterial cleaner. While you face the front of the toilet, “floss” the back of it. Let the cleaning solution sit for a few minutes then “floss” again with a dry paper towel. And voilà, you’re done!
Here are more bathroom cleaning tips you’ll wish you’d known sooner.
You don’t condition your scalp
Most people apply conditioner throughout the body of their hair and skip their scalp. It’s important to condition your hair from root to tip because conditioner helps hydrate your scalp to prevent it from itching and flaking.
Find out more healthy hair secrets.
Your soap doesn’t contain moisturizer
You can really dry out your skin if you use a bar soap without any kind of moisturizing agent. At the drugstore, look for soap with stearic acid listed under the ingredients or the word “moisturizing” on the label.
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You place the toilet brush back into its holder immediately
Toilet germs and moisture breed and multiply every time you put a toilet brush back into its holder right after each use. Let the brush dry completely after you’ve finished cleaning the toilet bowl so you’re not scrubbing the same bacteria back into your toilet the next time you use it.
Find out what professional cleaners do every day to keep their own homes spotless.
You brush your teeth straight across
The best way to clean your smile is to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle upward for your top row of teeth and downward for the bottom set. This angle is optimal for cleaning under the gum line where plaque often hides. As you brush, gently guide the toothbrush in small circles. This technique is not necessary for electric toothbrushes since they’re designed to go straight on your teeth.
Find out the flossing mistakes everyone makes.
You rub your body with a towel
Aggressively rubbing your body from head to toe with a towel removes some of the lipids, proteins and fatty acids that protect your skin from irritation. The best tactic for drying off is to pat your body dry to maintain that barrier.
Make sure you always do this to avoid dry skin in winter.
You don’t rinse well enough
Before you step out of the shower, make sure you’ve completely rinsed off all the soap and shampoo. Lingering products on the skin can lead to irritation and clogged pores, which can cause acne. If your skin is “bacne” (pimples on your back) prone, tilt your head to the side as you rinse your hair to allow the shampoo and conditioner to run into the drain instead of down your back.
Next, check out more showering mistakes you’re probably making.