Towels. Bathrooms are the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, and your towels are easily susceptible to these gross fungi. It's fine to keep one towel hung up in the bathroom, as long as you swap it out once a week.
Reynolds suggests storing bath towels outside the bathroom. "That's best practice," she adds. "Otherwise, keep them in a cabinet or covered container—you need a barrier so the plume can stick to something else and not your towel."
The Cleaning Institute recommends washing bath towels after three uses. If you shower every day, that means laundry almost twice a week. Regular laundry is sufficient to clean towels and remove any germs that are starting to accumulate.
Towels are often damp, warm and absorbent and so they become a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Every time you use a towel, your natural skin bacteria is transferred onto its surface, experts say. Most of the times, we leave towels in dark bathrooms where they could be exposed to disease-causing bacteria.
Germs on clothes and towels can come from our own body. We all have bacteria on the surface of our skin, in our noses and in our gut. These are often harmless, but some can cause infection, particularly in people with skin problems or wounds.
Allowing your towels to dry completely after single use, and regular washing after three to five uses should be sufficient in removing any unwanted bacteria and keeping your towels fresh, fluffy and absorbent.
Most people should wash their sheets once per week. If you don't sleep on your mattress every day, you may be able to stretch this to once every two weeks or so. Some people should wash their sheets even more often than once a week.
Showering too little can also trigger an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on your skin. Too much bad bacteria on your skin also puts you at risk for skin infections. This may lead to dermatitis neglecta, where patches of plaque develop on the skin due to inadequate cleansing. Bathing also removes dead skin cells.
How often you need to wash your bras isn't an exact science. But dermatologist Alok Vij, MD, says that as a general rule, you should wash them after every two to three wears.
Towels. Bathrooms are the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, and your towels are easily susceptible to these gross fungi. It's fine to keep one towel hung up in the bathroom, as long as you swap it out once a week. Turning on an exhaust fan can help dry out the room and your damp towel faster.
Make Your Space Safe
Those with small kitchens know that the area underneath the sink is a valuable bit of real estate. It's a great place for storing dish towels, extra sponges, trash bags, and a small fire extinguisher in case of emergencies.
Protect your linens from dust by storing them in a fabric-friendly container like a white fabric bag. But make sure you're also washing your fabric bags to make sure your linens are staying as fresh as possible. Go the extra mile by separating your sheets with acid-free paper to increase circulation.
Studies have shown that of all the surface areas in the bathroom, the floor is by far the dirtiest. That's because when we flush the toilet germs spread everywhere, and land on—you guessed it—the floor.
Do you know why your bathroom is so unsafe? It's water, water everywhere! The trouble is, water doesn't always stay where it is supposed to. Poorly fitted shower curtains that do not restrict the water in the shower area and wet feet are the two biggest causes of water winding up on the bathroom floor everywhere.
Bad habits include spending too long on the loo, taking your phone with you into the bathroom and leaving your wet towels lying around after showering. She also advised keeping toothbrushes in a cabinet or investing in a head protector to avoid potentially harmful bacteria from the toilet transferring into your mouth.
For people with ablutophobia, that means trying to avoid bathing and washing, which can lead to different problems for health, well-being, and social acceptance.
Going a long time without washing your hair can cause a buildup of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia on your scalp. Over time, this leads to a layer of dead skin cells that shed from your head in the form of oily, yellow-ish dandruff flakes. Dandruff can also make your scalp red, scaly, and itchy.
“Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “When you wake up in the morning, there's all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that's just kind of sitting there on your skin.” So take a quick shower in the morning, he said, “to wash all of that gunk and sweat off that you've been sleeping in all night.”
The Sleep Council suggests duvets are replaced every two to five years, but it is possible to extend the length of your duvet's life. Duvet protectors are much easier to wash and can protect your duvet from stains and picking up dust mites. Many are waterproof, breathable and hypoallergenic.
What if you don't? Not washing your sheets regularly exposes you to the fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that are commonly found on sheets and other bedding. Other things found on sheets include bodily secretions, sweat, and skin cells.
So, the bottom line is that you should change your pillowcase at least once per week. That's even if you don't sleep with a pillow right under your neck or face. If you want to do it every few days, that's even better.
When towels are too old, they are no longer effective. They don't dry you thoroughly and are likely home to unseen germs and bacteria. How do you know when you should be replacing towels? In general, experts advise you should get new ones every two years.
“The longer towels stay damp, the longer the yeasts, bacteria, molds and viruses remain alive and stay active,” explains dermatologist Alok Vij, MD. “They can cause an outbreak of toenail fungus, athlete's foot, jock itch and warts, or cause these skin conditions to spread,” he says.
Many doctors say a daily shower is fine for most people. (More than that could start to cause skin problems.) But for many people, two to three times a week is enough and may be even better to maintain good health. It depends in part on your lifestyle.