No one ever said bathrooms were the most sanitary sorts of rooms, and many of us employ some pretty impressive maneuvers to make sure we don't touch a single inch of surface in a public bathroom.
But beyond the obvious ick factors in a bathroom -- like the toilet -- there are some hidden sources of germs that may be lurking in your own bathroom just waiting to give you that next cold or flu you SO do not need right now.
No matter how clean it looks, the germs are there, and you need to be vigilant to thwart them from infecting you and your family. First, however, you need to know where to look.
Here are five sneaky places germs may be hiding in your bathroom:
Yes, the same one you put in your mouth every day is likely harboring a host of disgusting germs. From salmonella and E. coli via toilet water splashing to your own bacteria building up, brushing your teeth can be a health hazard.
Solution: Sanitize it weekly. You can do this with a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide or by running it through your dishwasher. And don't EVER share a toothbrush -- with your husband or your kids or anyone.
When was the last time you changed that towel hanging in your bathroom? Even if it was just a few days ago, think of the number of hands from different members of your family and visitors who have touched it, each leaving their own set of germs. Even if they just washed their hands, there can still be germs lingering, and some people will use it to wipe their mouth after brushing teeth or getting a drink of water.
Solution: Offer disposable towels or multiple, color-coded ones for each family member.
Sure that cup by the sink is a great idea in theory and it matches the rest of your bathroom set that came complete with a trashcan and tissue holder, but it's covered in the germs of anyone who has chosen to take a quick sip from it.
Solution: Disposal cups or no cups -- the kitchen isn't that far.
It's one thing you can pretty much guarantee that every potty-trained member of your family will touch every day, so the germs are there galore -- especially because most people flush before they wash their hands.
Solution: Keep disinfectant wipes close at hand and wipe down frequently.
That sponge under your sink you use to clean all the surfaces in your bathroom could just be doing more harm than good. Sponges are notorious for harboring germs, and when you reuse them, you often just spread them around from countertop to door handle and back again.
Solution: Either use disposal paper towels, a cloth than can be cleaned in the washing machine, or sanitize your sponge in a bleach-water solution (1 quart water to 3 tablespoons bleach) after each use.
Which germ sources do you fear most in your bathroom?