Germs generally are invisible, thereby making them almost unnoticeable. In other words, you can’t see them. These germs are harmless, however, there are real bathroom pathogens that could make you sick and they include:
- Gastrointestinal viruses– stomach bugs like norovirus. They can be passed on through faeces and vomit. Contamination may remain on the hands, on the toilet seat or on any other surfaces that an infected person has touched.
- 2. Enteric bacterial pathogens – which are organisms spread by contaminated foods and can also be carried in faeces and vomit. These include things like E. coli and salmonella.3. Skin pathogens– If a skin pathogen comes into contact with cuts or ulcerated skin or the skin of someone with eczema, it can produce local septic infections or even, more seriously, enter the bloodstream.
4. Skin fungi – like athlete’s foot can be passed from person to person by walking barefoot in the bathroom.
5. Respiratory viruses – like those responsible for colds and flu – are shed in large numbers by coughing, sneezing and nose blowing.
6. Mould and mildew fungi – often found around the shower curtain and base. They can cause all sorts of health problems, including making allergies and asthma worse.
How to combat them
It seems scary stuff but the good news is if you clean regularly and practice good hygiene there’s very little risk.
- Clean all bathroom floors and solid surfaces every week. Deep clean once a month. If anyone is unwell step up the cleaning.
- Tackle the toilet, make sure it’s cleaned regularly. Professor Bloomfield advises cleaning the toilet, toilet seat and handle once a day. Let bleach sit in the toilet bowl for a while before flushing.
- Use a bleach spray on surfaces to kill off bugs. Keep a spray in the bathroom for spot cleaning.
- Keep shower walls and floors free of mould and mildew. Change shower curtains if they get traces on them.
- Make sure your showerhead is kept clean. They can contain potentially harmful microbes that may cause respiratory infections when contaminated water is aerosolised (during showering), and the aerosol is inhaled by the person taking a shower. These microbes are more likely to grow in stagnant water and where scale or scum has formed around the showerhead.
- Chuck away sponges after you’ve cleaned the bathroom or use old towels or rags. Don’t use the toilet sponge on the sink or bath, it’ll spread germs.