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With the rise of social ‘cleanfluencers’ like Mrs Hinch, have us Brits gone a little cleaning mad? With our interest increasing by 75 per cent in five years, is it really a bad thing? After all, we do spend 11 days a year in our bathrooms.
What’s more, research by Easy Bathrooms has revealed that we might be stressing about germs in the wrong places – did you know that sinks harbour 250,000% more bacteria than flush handles and toilet seats are some of the cleanest areas within a bathroom? Mind. Blown.
So, where are the worst bathroom germ hotspots in our homes? Get ready to be shocked…
The biggest bathroom germ hotspots
10. Bathroom mirror
One of the least germ-ridden places in the bathroom is the mirror, with only 9 bacteria per sq cm. However, research by Charles Gerba, Professor of Microbiology at University of Arizona, shows that you’re more likely to come into contact with harmful bacteria in a woman’s bathroom as they interact with more surfaces.
9. Toilet seat
Yup, we’re surprised too! Commonly believed to be the place most covered in nasties, the toilet seat only has 150 bacteria per sq m and only 20 on the flush handle. The smooth surface is designed to prevent bacteria from settling, making them one of the cleanest places in the bathroom.
The report by Easy Bathroom also indicates the public’s biggest worries when it comes to bathroom cleanliness, including Google searches such as ‘Can you catch an STI from a toilet seat?’ Don’t worry – you can’t!
8. Bathroom bin
Surprisingly, the bathroom bin, which often comes into contact with items we associate with bacteria, only has 150 bacteria per sq cm.
7. Side wall
Let’s be honest, who regularly scrubs the bathroom walls? Yet these harbour more bacteria at 170 bacteria per sq cm than the toilet seat. Eek!
Shockingly, the bathroom floor has 23 per cent of its area affected (200 bacteria per sq cm), with five different kinds of bacteria present, the most prominent of which was Salmonella.
5. Toilet roll holder
It’s a popular myth that lining the toilet seat with paper will prevent germs touching your skin. How wrong we were! In fact, a study by Charles Gerba at the University of Arizona in 2009, found that the paper dispensers in public bathrooms carried 150 time more bacteria than the average toilet seat, which has 220 bacteria per sq cm.
4. Hand rail
The hand rail in most bathrooms is also a germ-fest, with 360 bacteria per sq cm.
We (should!) wash our hands after every time we use the toilet, but this means the taps are the third most germ-ridden area of the bathroom, with 1000 bacteria present in a sq cm.
The biggest contributor towards bacteria found in bathrooms isn’t from the gut (faeces) like we tend to fear most, but is in fact shredded skin! Gross! Perhaps this is why the radiator comes in second with 1,200 bacteria per sq cm.
Coming in at numero uno is the bathroom sink, which holds 250,000 per cent more germs than a toilet flush handle! With a whopping 50,000 bacteria present per sq cm, it’s the place where germs go to party.
So what can we do to bust the bacteria? Easy Bathroom’s research showed bathroom wipes only reduced the infected areas by 7%, relative to bleach which reduced it by 99.4%.
‘The British public are becoming more and more invested in their bathrooms,’ says Lee Reed from Easy Bathroom. ‘It is one of the spaces in their home where they can truly relax, whether that’s having a soak in the tub, taking 10 minutes to use the toilet and scroll on their phone, or even using cleaning as a therapeutic measure.’
Marigolds at the ready, Hinchers!