The bathroom is, first and foremost, a private space where everyone has grown accustomed to their own rituals and routines. However, there are lots of habits that are more common than you might think, doing more harm than you might have otherwise realised.
Looking to clean up your bathroom act? Check out these nine bad bathroom habits and see what changes you can make for the better!
1. Checking work emails in the tub
The bathroom is not a place for texting, tweeting or scrolling through your work emails. However, a shocking 39% of people have been on the phone to a friend, partner, parent, or even a colleague while they’ve been on the loo!
Ignoring the fact that none of your colleagues will appreciate you calling from the John and no-one wants a live-feed of your bathroom activity, there are two main reasons you should leave your phone or tablet out of the bathroom.
Firstly, if you’re relaxing with an indulgent soak in a warm bubble bath, the last thing you want (or need) to do is checking in with work or other goings on from the web. It’s important to disconnect and enjoy some downtime away from the screen. Plus, you don’t want to run the risk of dropping your phone in the bath!
Additionally, the bathroom isn’t exactly the most hygienic space to be networking in. Phones are naturally going to pick up bacteria and germs from their daily use; do you really want to think about the type of bacteria they’ll pick up in the bathroom? No! Didn’t think so.
2. Leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth
This bad habit is probably more common than you think. Leaving the tap running whilst you scrub your teeth might not seem like it wastes a lot of water, but imagine how much water you’re wasting every month, week or even year! What’s more, imagine how many other people are also doing the same – that’s a lot of wasted water.
Turning the tap off as you brush is much more environmentally friendly than simply letting water run straight into the plughole. It only takes a second to turn the tap on and off. What’s more, this one change in behaviour might just save you a small fortune on your water bill too.
3. Keeping the toilet lid open for flushing
This bad habit is not only common, but something of a hidden danger in the bathroom. We’ve covered this in one of our previous posts ‘How to keep your bathroom in top condition.’ Leaving the lid open when flushing is not only a quick and easy way to make the bathroom a mess, but it also makes your bathroom very unhygienic too.
Various studies have found that flushing with the lid open can splash water particles as far as six feet away from the toilet. This means that with a single flush, nasty bacteria can reach into the farthest corners of your bathroom… not a nice thought. Keeping the lid down keeps the water contained, significantly reducing the risk of bacteria from the toilet contaminating the rest of the bathroom.
4. Not washing your hands properly
We’ve probably all seen the occasional person in public toilets not washing their hands after going to the loo before reaching for the door handle with unsanitary mitts. But, did you know that it’s far more common for those who do wash their hands not to do so properly?
Washing your hands isn’t a case of merely splashing them under cold water, but rather wetting them, applying soap and ensuring you lather well, scrubbing all over your hands to ensure every last inch has been cleaned, before fully rinsing the soap away under warm running water.
If you want more advice on this topic, Great Ormond Street Hospital have a great video to show you how best to clean your hands!
Finally, dry your hands on a clean dry towel, paper towels or air dry them and ensure they’re fully dry before leaving the bathroom!
5. Hang drying towels
It might be surprising to learn that your towels can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Hanging your towels on hooks can be particularly bad practice, as moisture and any excess soap can get trapped between the creases in the towels. This the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and even mildew to grow.
The best way to dry your towel after use is to spread it out across a towel rail or on a bathroom towel radiator. With no folds in the towel, the material can dry fully and evenly without trapping moisture. It’s generally recommended to wash towels after three uses or once or twice a week.
Check out our bathroom towel radiators to find the right one for you!
6. Spending too long in the bathroom
Did you know that the UK spends around 121,625,350 hours in the bathroom every week? We’re big advocates of loving your bathroom, but is this taking it too far?
If you’re sharing your bathroom, this could prove a bit annoying for anyone else who is waiting to get in there. Bathroom etiquette pro, William Hanson thinks 20 minutes is more than enough for a shower, and 30 for a bath, but many people exceed this. Glaswegians, we found, spend 30 minutes as a minimum in the bathroom every morning!
Cutting down the time you spend in the shower will also reduce your water usage. Take a tip from our pro and stick to a speedy shower when possible – you’ll be doing the environment a favour and your bank balance will thank you, not to mention anyone else who uses the bathroom!
We’ve got more information about Britain’s biggest bathroom gripes in our Bathroom Etiquette Guide!
7. Not replacing your sponge or loofah every month
Another common bad bathroom habit is getting attached to your sponge or loofah. Most of us hang on to these bathroom accessories for far longer than is recommended, with many of us using sponges or loofahs for months after we probably should do.
These accessories are perfect for getting an even scrub while you’re in the shower or tub, but rinsing them after use isn’t enough to keep bacteria at bay. After you’ve showered and used your loofah or sponge, leave it to dry somewhere well-ventilated. They should be hung up to dry outside of the shower so that they don’t retain all the bacteria you’ve cleaned off. Heat and moisture are ideal conditions to spread nasty germs, so the more chance you give them to dry, the better!
Don’t forget that sponges and loofahs retain water and moisture after use (no matter how much you wring them out), making them the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. It’s recommended to replace your sponge or loofah every month.
8. Storing your toothbrush
Where you store your toothbrush is a subject that has been well debated over the years. The main problem being that storing it on the units or counters exposes your toothbrush to harmful bacteria in the air.
However, storing your toothbrush in a contained area (such as in the bathroom cabinet) is unlikely to do you any favours either, as the bristles are far less likely to dry inside a cupboard. The best way to store your toothbrush is to stand it vertically in a cup or toothbrush holder, ensuring that it’s kept away from the toilet (another good reason for putting the toilet lid down when flushing).
9. Leaving make-up in the bathroom
A naturally lit bathroom is probably one of the best places to apply your make-up, but the moist air makes it a bad environment for storing it. You really don’t want bacteria breeding on cosmetics, so it’s good practice to store your make-up in cupboards or drawers – out of the way of germs.
Similarly, if you use make-up sponges, brushes or any other applicators, keep in mind that these can also harbour bacteria. Store them in cupboards or drawers or in a beauty case, and remember to clean brushes with hot soapy water or specially formulated make-up applicator cleaner regularly.
We’ve got a huge collection of bathroom storage solutions that can keep all your makeup, lotions, and potions safe from harm. Take a look at them here.
While most of these bathroom habits are fairly common, they can be the underlying reason for quite a few nasty hygiene issues. Making a handful of slight alterations to your habits can keep your bathroom a clean, healthy and germ-free space.