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Shut it: Here’s the No. 1 tip for a germ-free bathroom
Shut it: Here’s the No. 1 tip for a germ-free bathroom

Shut it: Here’s the No. 1 tip for a germ-free bathroom

Thursday, April 4, 2024


It’s simple: don’t just teach boys to put the seat down, teach everyone to put the whole lid down. 

That’s right, the toilet is the main culprit in a germy bathroom. Studies have shown that between 40 and 60% of particles from the toilet bowl spray up to 3.5 feet into the air per flush. Better known as the “toilet plume,” these aerosol droplets can carry a multitude of bacteria and viruses that spread onto every surface in your bathroom, according to a study on the AIP Publishing website.  


This is a good time to pause and consider what’s typically left exposed in the bathroom … A toothbrush? Cell phone? Glasses? Towels? 


Don’t worry, we’re not doomed to be infected by the toilet plume. The No. 1 way to reduce germs in the bathroom is pretty simple: Put down the lid before flushing. 


With that resolved, let’s talk about where else germs love to live in the bathroom and how to best keep the bathroom germ-free. According to a recent review article, out of the top 10 spots for bacteria in a home, six of them lurk in the bathroom: 


  • Toilet bowl 

  • Sponge or counter-wiping cloth 

  • Bathtub, near drain 

  • Bathroom faucet handle 

  • Bathroom sink, near drain 

  • Floor in front of the toilet 


Now, it is clear where to focus cleaning efforts, but what’s the best way to clean? 


According to the CDC, cleaning weekly by scrubbing with soap and water effectively removes germs, viruses and bacteria found on surfaces (remember the toilet plume?).  


Disinfecting is only necessary when someone at home is sick. The difference between cleaning and disinfecting is in the product: Disinfecting products, such as household bleach, contain chemicals that kill any germs still hanging on for dear life.  


To prevent germs from spreading by giving them a home on other common countertop items, consider storing things like toothbrushes far, far away from the toilet. 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.