9 Places in Your Bathroom That Are Especially Dirty

You may be forgetting to clean these areas

Modern Bathroom

John Lovette/ Photolibrary/ Getty Images 

When you consider the health hazards in your home, we all know that the bathroom can be filled with microbes and germs from, erm, human waste and other unsavory bits of detritus. Bacteria and other baddies can hide out in unassuming places. And while you may be diligent about washing your hands and keeping certain surfaces sparkling, there may be other areas that you're forgetting to clean. We've rounded up common problem areas, plus how to correct them to create a healthy and happy bathroom.

  • 01 of 09

    Mold and Mildew

    Mildew on bathroom tile

    RFStock/ Getty Images 

    The bathroom is the perfect incubator for the growth of mold and mildew. There is plenty of humidity and body soil to encourage growth. Mildew is a mold and while unsightly, it is usually not extremely toxic. It does spread quickly on surfaces like fabrics, grout, caulk, and painted wood surfaces through spores. So, if it appears, it is best to treat quickly.

    The best way to reduce the growth of mildew and more toxic molds is to decrease humidity by increasing air circulation. The bathroom vent should be run for at least 20 minutes after a steamy shower. Allow towels and shower curtains to dry completely and as quickly as possible after every use.

  • 02 of 09

    Light Switches, Door Knobs, and Faucet Handles

    Bathroom door handle

    Bernard Van Berg / EyeEm/ Getty Images

    Not everyone is diligent about washing hands after each trip to the bathroom. And hands can be pretty dirty when you simply open the door and switch on a light when you enter the room.

    Door knobs, light switches, and faucet handles can be covered with body soil, mold, yeast, and bacteria like E. coli and Listeria that can make family members very ill.

    Keep some disinfecting wipes on hand and give everything a quick wipe down at least once per day. Do it more often if anyone is suffering from a cold or virus.

  • 03 of 09

    Faulty Bathroom Fan

    Bathroom Fan

    profeta / E+/ Getty Images

    A bathroom fan or vent is essential for removing the excess moisture that accumulates after a steamy bath or shower. But is it working correctly?

    If the fan is not vented properly to an outside exhaust system or the interior is covered with dust and mold, it may be recirculating dangerous particles.

  • 04 of 09

    Poor Water Quality

    Faucet with Hands

     domin-domin/ E+/ Getty Images

    Hard water, or water that contains high levels of minerals like calcium and lime, can cause unsightly spotting on bathroom fixtures. But if water contains certain chemicals or bacteria, then it can be harmful to your well-being.

    Water testing kits are available through local health departments or purchased online to see if you have good water quality.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Showerheads

    Shower head

     Maciej Toporowicz, NYC/ Moment/ Getty Images

    Showerhead nozzles can become clogged with soap scum, but that can easily be cleaned away with distilled white vinegar. The bigger threat with showerheads is what they may harbor inside.

    In 2009, esearchers found that showerheads can be home to microbes like Legionella pneumophila and Mycobacterium avium. These are particularly harmful to those with lung disease or weakened immune systems.

  • 06 of 09

    Shower Brushes, Scrubs, and Loofahs

    Shower brushes

     Genti and Hyers/ Photolibrary/ Getty Images

    Shower brushes, scrubbing poofs, and loofahs are great for removing body soil and dead skin cells. They are also great at harboring all that soil, yeast, and bacteria so that the next time you use them you are spreading it all back onto your skin.

    After every use, the scrubbing tools should be washed with soap and rinsed well. Remove them from the shower and hang to air dry where there is good air circulation. Toss them in the washer often for a thorough cleaning.

  • 07 of 09

    Hand and Bath Towels

    Bath and hand towels

     Alexandre Loureiro/ EyeEm/ Getty Images

    Having to do less laundry is always a good thing and bath towels can often be used more than once if they are allowed to dry completely between uses. The problems begin if bath and hand towels, bath mats, and beach towels are shared or not washed often enough.

    Hand towels should be changed daily and disinfected properly, especially if someone in the household is ill. 

  • 08 of 09

    Makeup Brushes and Grooming Tools

    Makeup products on a bathroom counter

    JulieK/ Twenty20

     

    Makeup brushes, facial brushes, eyelash curlers, tweezers, and manicure and pedicure tools all come into direct contact with our skin and body fluids and can easily become contaminated with bacteria.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Vinyl Flooring

    Vinyl Flooring

     Westend 61/ Getty Images

    If you have a home built before 1972 with vinyl tile flooring, it may contain asbestos. The biggest threat comes if the flooring is cracked or if you decide to renovate and remove the flooring. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.

    Almost all vinyl emits volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), but increasing ventilation during installation and for a few weeks when it is done will help them dissipate. There are vinyl flooring options that are manufactured to meet strict standards for indoor air quality. You can help offset problems by selecting a low VOC vinyl and adhesive and using a qualified installer.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Basic Facts About Mold and Dampness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. Symptoms | E. Coli. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  3. Water Treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  4. Feazel LM, Baumgartner LK, Peterson KL, Frank DN, Harris JK, Pace NR. Opportunistic Pathogens Enriched in Showerhead BiofilmsProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106(38):16393-16399. doi:10.1073/pnas.0908446106

  5. Whiley H, Keegan A, Fallowfield H, Bentham R. Detection of Legionella, L. Detection of Legionella, L. Pneumophila and Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC) Along Potable Water Distribution PipelinesInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2014;11(7):7393-7405. Published 2014 Jul 18. doi:10.3390/ijerph110707393

  6. Asbestos. National Institute of Health.