If you're anything like me, you probably associate a shower with cleanliness. Despite the general association with being sanity, however, there are actually quite a few surprisingly gross things you're doing in the shower. Obviously almost everybody has had a particularly bad night — whether it's from being sick or partying too hard — and had a less than glamorous time in the bathroom. But aside from those rare regrettable restroom moments, which of your bathing habits are decidedly unhygienic? Interestingly enough, you might not even realize that what you do in the shower is considered gross by others.
For instance, as a mother of a rambunctious 3-year-old boy, I'm no stranger to stinky and sticky scenarios. I'd bet that pretty much every parent out there has had to fish out a piece of poo from the bath when their child was just an infant with little to now control over their bowel movements. But even now, I find myself just rolling my eyes and dealing with it if my son pees in the shower with me. Still, you don't have to be a parent to have beastly bathroom experiences. So check out these gross things you're doing in the shower and see if any of them sound familiar.
1. You Use A Germ-Infested Pouf
Despite their luxurious depiction in commercials, sudsy shower sponges are quite scuzzy. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology found that synthetic and natural loofahs, "play host to a variety of bacterial species." Yuck. If you're stuck on using these exfoliating sponges, the study further recommended that you can disinfect loofahs with diluted bleach to kill off germs.
2. You Ignore The Shower Head
Just because showers are used for bathing doesn't automatically make them clean spaces. According to the official site for the University of Colorado at Boulder, researcher Dr. Norman Pace reported that, "pathogens were clumped together in slimy 'biofilms' that clung to the inside of shower heads." This makes sense since warm, moist environments are the ideal conditions for germs to grow. So don't forget to clean your shower head and tub faucets.
3. You Shave Before Getting A Pedicure
According to American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), shaving before a pedicure increases your risk of infection because you're getting tiny little cuts that could allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Consider embracing your body hair during your next trip to the nail salon.
4. You Drop Loose Strands
I'll be the first to admit that I shed like a sheepdog and my clogged tub can prove it. As microbiologist Dr. Charles P. Gerba told Prevention, letting hair and residue collect around your shower drain leads to bacterial growth that can cause infections, diarrhea, and spread viruses. Again, a simple cleanser or diluted bleach can clear things right up.
5. You Let Your Feet Soak Up The Bubbles
Those bubbles accumulating around your feet aren't an adequate substitute for soap and a washcloth. As the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) noted, letting your feet soak in shower water increases your risk of fungal infections. Washing your toes and thoroughly drying them is key for prevention.
6. You Shave With A Leftover Blade
When was the last time you swapped out your shaving blades? If you can't remember, that could be a problem. As dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo told Prevention using a left-out or old razor in the shower, "can cause uncomfortable folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicle." Play it safe and store your razor in a clean, dry space after the shower and replace them on a regular basis.