12 WAYS YOUR BATHROOM CAN MAKE YOU SICK: AND REMEDIES
There are 12 ways that your bathroom can make you sick. You may think it’s only a matter of thoroughly cleaning your bathroom, but that’s not all.
There are plenty of other ways your bathroom can make you sick – and we’ve asked experts and scoured the Internet to find 12 of them for you! Don’t panic, we’ll also outline 12 easy remedies to keep you and your family healthy in spite of this reality!
The most common culprits in the bathroom that can make people sick are items that come into contact with your skin and those that you inhale.
Here are the ways your bathroom can make you sick:
Poor ventilation. Bathrooms with poor ventilation will often have a humidity issue. Excess moisture is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew that are known causes of asthma, allergies, sinus problems, and respiratory infections in children.
However, if you already have a mold and mildew issue, use a mild and mildew cleaner that will also help get rid of the nasty stains they leave behind.
Faulty plumbing. A leak in your toilet can quickly lead to the growth of bacteria, which causes everything from infectious diarrhea and stomach disorders to serious respiratory diseases like Legionnaires’ disease, according to Mayo Clinic.
Additionally, clogged or leaking toilets can allow bacteria in urine and fecal matter to lead back up the pipes and contaminate the entire house’s water supply (including drinking water).
Remedy: If you have a leaking toilet, contact a plumber as soon as possible for repairs or replacement before it becomes more than just an annoyance; if left unchecked, this could be fatal!
If your toilet is prone to clogs, you could consider installing an anti-clog toilet to deal with the problem once and for all.
Unfiltered showerheads. This bathroom hazard is often overlooked, in part because most people don’t know they can inhale harmful irritants while enjoying their shower.
Unfiltered shower heads release unfiltered water droplets into the air, which may contain chlorine and other irritants that could make some asthma sufferers more likely to experience an attack when exposed to those chemicals over time.
Remedy: Install a water filter or showerhead with an anti-bacterial agent to prevent the release of harmful chemicals.
Harsh household cleaning products. Cleaning supplies that contain chemicals such as bleach and ammonia are harmful when inhaled over long periods of time because they irritate nasal passages and damaging the lungs.
Remedy: If you must use a strong agent, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gloves if possible.
You can also reduce your risk by spraying cleaner onto washcloths and scrubbers rather than directly on surfaces – this will help prevent inhalation of any harmful fumes from these chemicals.
Coatings on fixtures and walls. Bathrooms contain metals, walls, ceilings and other surfaces that are coated with a variety of substances such as glues, sealants, or solvents which can produce hazardous vapors.
Lead poisoning from water pipes and paint is one of the most severe effects of exposure to hazardous coatings.
According to the World Health Organization, the health implications of lead poisoning include infertility and poor mental and physical growth in children, infertility.
Remedy: Get rid of paint and plumbing fixtures installed before 1978 when the government banned lead-based paint.
Germs found on everyday items. These include bacteria, fungi, and protozoa found on bathroom items such as toilet seats and lids, toilet paper and soap dispensers, toothbrush holders, doorknobs, and blinds.
These pathogens may cause infections like colds and flu, as well more serious conditions such as stomach illnesses and skin and respiratory illnesses.
The highly infectious Coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic is also spreadable through items and surfaces in the bathroom.
Other common germs found in the bathroom include staphylococcus aureus (staph), E. coli, salmonella, shigella, and campylobacter.
Remedy: Disinfect all areas that come in contact with your skin every day, or several times a day if you have immune-suppressed persons in your household.
Toilet and bathtub. Dirty bathtubs, toilet seats and flush handles or buttons are perhaps the most obvious sources of sickness in the bathroom.
Research shows that when people sit on a toilet, they may come in contact with bacteria from their own feces – including E. coli.
Not just this, the way they flush (or don’t) can make a difference in your bathroom’s cleanliness.
Contaminated flush handles and buttons can also spread pathogens that can cause inflammation of the large intestine or colon (colitis). This can then spread to other areas of your body through fecal-oral transmission.
If ever there was a great reason to observe proper handwashing practices, this is it!
Remedy: Regularly and thoroughly clean toilet bowls to prevent the accumulation of fecal matter and other contaminants. You could also wipe down toilet seats before sitting on them!
You could also replace your traditional toilet with an automatic one that uses touchless flushing technology to limit contact with toilet surfaces.
Poorly maintained bathroom surfaces. Shower curtain linings and grout lines of tile floors are havens for excess moisture build-up from improper ventilation combined with inadequate cleaning practices.
This explains why you’ll find mold crawling up your shower curtains and inside grout lines. Inhaling mold spores could trigger allergies and cause other serious respiratory issues such as asthma.
Remedy: Fix broken tiles and seal joints by caulking. You could also purchase washable shower curtains to prevent the buildup of grime that is a great breeding ground for mold.
Dust in the bathroom. Toilet paper, towels, dryer sheets, exhaust fans, and pet dander are some of the biggest causes of dust accumulation in your bathroom that can make you sick.
And wherever there is dust, there are dust mites, which could cause respiratory issues. These minute organisms live in dust, which makes up 80% of their diet.
Remedy: Keep dust out of your bathroom. We have written an exhaustive post on the causes and remedies of dust in the bathroom. Click here to check it out.
Wet floors and towels. Wet surfaces lead to germs being spread more easily. Walking on wet bathroom floors is a primary cause of conditions such as athlete’s foot, which is spread from walking barefoot on the same surfaces as infected persons.
Remedy: Regularly disinfect bathroom floors and avoid walking barefoot on wet surfaces.
Asbestos. This is a cluster of minerals often used in construction as they are heat-resistant. It was used largely in a lot of older homes and buildings as insulation.
Asbestos can be found in the walls, ceilings, or floor tiles and may not always be distinguishable from other materials such as vinyl sheeting or linoleum tile which are no longer made with asbestos.
While it was more common before the mid 20th century, asbestos is also used today as there is no law banning its use.
Asbestos enters the body when we inhale its fibers and can result in serious health complications such as asbestos poisoning that causes respiratory issues.
Remedy: Consult an absesos abatement professional to remove and dispose of any asbesos in your space.
This could involve replacing walls, ceilings, and floor tiles in houses constructed before the year 2000. While this may seem like an expensive feat, but it’s worth preventing a serious hazard.
Personal bathroom hygiene practices. Your own hygiene practices (or lack of) can make you sick. Some general bathroom hygiene bathroom practices to keep you from getting sick include:
- Flush only once the lid is shut to prevent germs being released when flushing.
- Regularly clean and disinfect all bathroom surfaces.
- Properly wash hands with soap and running water after using the toilet.
- Dry your hands before leaving the bathroom.
- Keep bathroom surfaces dry
Hand dryers in public restrooms. Hand dryers in most public restrooms are poorly maintained or cleaned between uses. They are known to suck massive amounts of germs and spew them as you dry your hands.
Remedy: Use paper towels to avoid spreading bacteria and germs onto your hands from using an electric dryer.
Whenever possible, carry around disposable wet wipes with you so that you can wipe down any surfaces where people have used their bare hands after washing them (e.g., soap dispensers).