Five bathroom accessories ‘harbouring’ the most bacteria – ‘dirtiest item in the house’

While cleaning the bathroom is essential in maintaining good hygiene, it is often forgotten about items in the bathroom which need to be washed such as bath mats and shower curtains. These items can be packed with bacteria and germs which can make the space unhygienic. But how often should Britons wash bathroom accessories?

Bath mats

Laundry and cleaning expert, Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, explained: “Bath mats are designed to absorb a lot of water, but it’s important to wash them regularly to maintain appropriate hygiene standards. 

“Ideally, your bath mat should be washed weekly – most mats can be washed by professional cleaning services, or in your washing machine, but make sure to double check their label’s washing requirements before doing so. 

“For bath mats with rubber backings, try to avoid the washing machine – to prevent bacteria build-up without damaging the rubber, it’s best to spray them with white vinegar weekly, and to wash them in cold water every three to four weeks. 

“I would recommend replacing your mats every two years in order to keep them fresh and clean.”

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3. Toilet brushes

Toilet brushes are often the “dirtiest item in the house”, so they need to be cleaned regularly in order to keep germs at bay.

The expert said: “Every week, I would advise filling the toilet brush container with hot, soapy water and a few drops of bleach. Swirl the brush around in the water and let it soak for 10 minutes, before emptying the water down the toilet. 

“Then, flush clean water over the brush, and spray both the container and brush with a disinfectant spray.”

If you have the time, it is best to let the brush air dry before placing it back into the container. Try balancing it across the toilet seat and letting it drip into the toilet for 10 to 20 minutes.

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If the brush bristles ever become discoloured or bent out of shape, the cleaning expert said it is time to replace it.

4. Bath toys

Deyan continued: “Kids’ bath toys may make bath time a better experience, but they’re hotspots for mould, mildew and germs. 

“Once a week, these toys should be properly cleaned: fill a bucket with equal parts vinegar and warm water (and a few drops of child-friendly essential oils if you want to add a relaxing scent). 

“Submerge the bath toys and let them soak for an hour, before rinsing them with tap water and allowing them to air dry. Vinegar dissolves soap scum and gets rid of stains, making it perfect for cleaning bath toys. 

“However, if there’s scummy or bad-smelling water trapped inside a toy, it’s best to bin it, as their inner surfaces won’t be sterile and suitable for play.”

5. Loofahs and flannels

Loofahs and flannels are essential bathroom items but they can easily get clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria. This means they should be cleaned after every use, to avoid transferring the old bacteria after use.

The expert said synthetic loofahs can be cleaned by soaking them in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water for five to 10 years.

Deyan added: “For loofahs made from natural fibres, quickly soak them in a solution of four tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to every litre of water. 

“The same goes for flannels: anything you use on your face should be washed after every use to avoid spreading bacteria and skin cells that could irritate the sensitive skin on your face. 

“Flannels should be washed at least every three days, either using your washing machine or a professional cleaning service.”