There are a lot of things we do on a daily basis that seem pretty routine. Brushing our teeth, putting socks on, even getting your morning coffee...it's all habit at this point.
Another set of things we all assume are pretty much second nature at this point is whatever we do in the bathroom. Whether it's actually using the toilet, cleaning the surfaces, of taking a shower, as adults we think we've got it on luck. The reality, though, is that there are a lot of things we're doing in the bathroom that we really shouldn't be.
1. Wiping Too Much
You obviously have to wipe after you use the bathroom, especially if you went number two, but over-wiping can cause irritation on your bum, which isn't pleasant to deal with. If you find that toilet paper isn't doing the trick, try using wet wipes instead. This will decrease the amount of times you have to wipe and cause less irritation.
If you don't want to use wet wipes, and there's a really good reason not to if you keep reading, you can also use wet toilet paper.
2. Not Rinsing Bar Soap
Washing soap sounds weird, I know, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your bar of soap can gather a lot of bacteria when it sits around. This bacteria then transfers to your hands the next time you use it, which kind of defeats the purpose. The CDC suggests you run your soap under the tap before lathering up your hands to avoid picking up bacteria. They also recommend storing your soap in a dry place so it doesn't create a moist environment for bacteria.
3. Using Your Phone
Using your phone while you poop is apparently the new trend, but it can actually cause a lot of problems. The amount of pressure placed on your lower rectum as you sit on the toilet can lead to hemorrhoids, and no one wants to deal with those. Sitting on the toilet too long isn't recommended, so maybe keep the phone in another room. Plus, it's not super sanitary to have it in there to begin with.
4. Cleaning Your Ears With Q-Tips
It may seem like cotton swabs were made to clean your ears, but that could not be less true. In fact, the box actually says you shouldn't use them for that purpose. The small pieces of cotton can get dislodged in your ear, and can even push the dirt and wax farther down your ear canal.
If you do need to get your ears cleaned, it's best to go see your doctor and have them flush your ears for you.
5. Not Washing Your Hands
Gross, right? But a lot of people, men and women equally, don't wash their hands when they leave the bathroom. You really, really should be washing your hands. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that no one wants to touch a surface you've touched if you're recently had your hands...down there.
If someone put their hands town their pants, used a phone, then handed you the phone, odds are you wouldn't want to touch it.
6. Using A Washcloth For Your Face
Don't let the fact that some people call them "face cloths" fool you, you shouldn't be using a washcloth on your face at all. Bacteria stick to these cloths like crazy, which defeats the purpose of washing your face. Plus, the fabric can be very harsh on your skin as you scrub, so you're better off using your hands to scrub your face and then rinsing the water away.
7. Sitting, Not Squatting
Most women will know that squatting in a public bathroom is a great idea, but did you know that squatting in your home bathroom is a good idea as well? It's not because you need to worry about strangers on your toilet seat, but it has to do with your intestinal tract. Squatting when you have to poop lines up your digestive tract, which then helps things move along smoothly.
8. Not Moisturizing
Especially in the winter months, moisturizing is extremely important. Dry skin can lead to irritation, cracked fingers, and all around discomfort. Make sure you're keeping your skin hydrated, either through a moisturizing soap or a moisturizing lotion.
9. Using Hot Water To Wash Your Hands
We've all been under the impression that hot water kills germs, and that's not wrong, but the temperature would have to be over 212 degrees Fahrenheit to actually make a difference, and that's not coming out of your taps. Studies have shown that washing your hands in cold or lukewarm water has the same effect of using hot water. Plus, hot water dries your skin out more than cold or lukewarm water does, which isn't good.
10. Putting The Toilet Brush Back Immediately
I know when I clean the bathroom, I put the toilet brush back in its holder right away. Why wouldn't I? Apparently, I've been doing it wrong for years.
When you put a toilet brush back in its holder right away, you're giving bacteria an ideal breeding ground. The damp environment causes the bacteria to reproduce, and then you're basically using this bacteria to clean your toilet again next time.
Instead, let your toilet brush dry out completely before putting it back in the holder.
11. Cleaning Surfaces At Room Temperature
When cleaning your tub or shower, you should be heating the surfaces before your start scrubbing. According to Jenny Botero, resident manager of Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, heating your tub, sink, or tiles even just 10 degrees higher than their normal temperature "doubles the effectiveness" of cleaning. Run the hottest water you can from the tap to warm up the surfaces in your bathroom, then start cleaning them.
12. Flushing Wet Wipes
Wet wipes are pretty standard in a lot of households, and most of them say they're flushable. The thing is...they're not. Wet wipes have been known to clog toilets and even sewer systems because of their inability to break down in water.
One study found that it could take up to 10 minutes for some wipes to break down in water, compared to the mere seconds it takes for toilet paper. It just goes to show that even though the companies may say their wipes are disposable, they could cause problems in your plumbing system you don't want to deal with later.
13. Keeping The Lid Open When You Flush
Flushing the toilet is habit, but for a lot of people, closing the lid when you do it isn't. When you flush the toilet, debris can fly as far as 6ft in the air without you even realizing it. For most bathrooms, that's about the width of the room. So next time you flush the toilet with the lid up, ask yourself if you really want dirty toilet water spraying all over every surface in the bathroom. Odds are, your answer is no!
14. Using Toilet Seat Covers
Many people use toilet seat covers in public restrooms as a way to stay sanitary, but the reality is these covers are pretty filthy. As we've learned, toilets spray debris all around them when they flush, and a public toilet gets flushed hundreds of times a day. Seeing as those seat covers are stored right there in the stall, it's not hard to imagine that they're covered in a ton of bacteria.
Of course, if you bring your own toilet seat covers or notice that the covers provided are being properly stored, there's really nothing wrong with using with them. You just need to be cautious.
15. Not Conditioning Your Scalp
Conditioner does help your hair, but a main reason you should be using it is for your scalp. Massage your conditioner into your scalp, right down to the root of your hair. This helps keep your scalp hydrated and prevent it from itching and flaking.
16. Keeping Your Toothbrush Near The Toilet
In case we haven't talked about the way toilets flus enough, here's another reminder to keep that lid closed. If you keep your toothbrush close to the toilet, you're basically inviting fecal matter to live on it. Even if the top of your toothbrush is covered, the handle can get covered in bacteria, and I'd be willing to bet you don't want to touch a handle full of toilet water.
17. Not Replacing Your Toothbrush
Every three months you should be replacing your toothbrush. Otherwise, you're cleaning your teeth with something covered in bacteria, and something that's been worn down and can't really clean the same way it used to.
18. Going Barefoot
You'd think you can be comfortable in your own home, which for a lot of people means going barefoot, but make sure that when you step foot in the bathroom you're wearing socks or slippers. Your bathroom floor is actually one of the dirtiest surfaces in your home, and unfortunately it's also probably one of the surfaces you clean the least.
19. Scrubbing Too Hard In The Shower
The entire point of a shower is scrubbing all the dirt and dead skin off your body, but scrubbing too aggressively can actually remove the natural barrier that your skin produces. If you are going to use a wash cloth or loofah, make sure you're being extremely gentle when you scrub. It's generally better to use your hand to rub in the body wash is effective enough to get yourself clean.
20. Pushing Too Hard To Poop
It sounds funny to talk about, but pushing too hard when you poop can actually cause anal fissures and hemorrhoids. The tiny blood vessels in the lining of your anus can become irritated if you push too hard trying to relieve yourself. Squatting to help line up your digestive tract is a good idea, and if your constipation lasts for a few days, it might be time to go see a doctor.
What happens in the bathroom seems fairly routine, but it turns out there are a few things you're doing that could be completely wrong.
[H/T: Reader's Digest]