Do This, Not That... Bathroom Edition
Updated: Oct 9
As usual, when not getting dirty feet outside in the glorious summer heat, the kids and I have been watching a lot of post-apocalyptic TV shows. We are all confident in our (hopefully never to be tested) ability to slay zombies, gather food, and protect scarce resources from predators, but one thing always gives me pause: the lack of running water inherent to a post-apocalyptic world. To the folks who see hygiene as just another unfortunate chore, we ask, how much harder would it be to get clean when all you have is lakewater, possibly polluted by legions of the undead? I'm already horrified just by what's under these actors' fingernails.
But it turns out that even with a blessed abundance of safe, clean hot water flowing in our bathtubs and shower stalls on demand, we are apparently doing lots and lots of dirty things in the bathroom that we really shouldn't be! You may think you've got good hygiene down pat, but obviously not everyone has; fully 20% of Britons have ended a romantic relationship over their partner's bathroom habits (no dental jokes, please). Read on to learn what not to do in that oasis of privacy and cleanliness, your bathroom.
Popular hygiene habits that are not a good idea
You shave your feet. If you even know what this little doodad is, you're going off track... [raises hand guiltily]
Corns and calluses can be painful to walk on, and rough heels can catch on socks and pantyhose (as well as looking unsightly in sandals!) So you go get a pedi and they just shave off all that extra skin. Then you realize, "Wait, I could just do this at home." STOP! Shaving your feet with a blade can result in cracked soles and even painful wounds. If you must shave your soles, soak your feet in warm water for at least half an hour first (add some peppermint foot soak to cool and moisturize feet while you're at it) and proceed with extreme caution. Your better bet? Smooth rough soles with a pumice stone or foot file. Yes, it takes a lot longer to sand your feet down, but it's a safer way to get that long-lasting, baby soft feeling.
2. You leave your toothbrush lying around. Do you brush in the shower? Okaaay, but when you turn the water off and step out, does your toothbrush end up resting on a cruddy ledge, fallen into the tub, or even worse, sitting on top of the toilet tank? Those of us with small bathrooms may be surprised to learn that toothbrushes left in standing water can collect infection-causing bacteria. Always store toothbrushes standing up, separated from one another and from surfaces, so they can dry fully between uses.
3. That one nasty, wet hand towel has been on the counter for who knows how long. It's easy to forget how long hand and body towels have been in use, so set up a system whereby they go into the hamper every 2-4 days automatically! The reason is that wet, used towels do not fully dry unless religiously hung up and spread out, and the moisture that collects in its fold is a playground for smelly molds, yeast and bacteria. Also, if you are trying to create a spa bath environment (as we always say, you have to get clean; might as well enjoy it) fresh towels are a must!
4. You're not washing off your makeup before you go to bed. We've all nodded off after a late night and woken up to lingering makeup on occasion, but if you do this regularly, you're at risk of clogged pores, which can lead to acne breakouts... and more seriously, eye infections from migrating particles of mascara. Vowed to change your nighttime face-washing ways, but need a deep clean to remove the buildup of dirt, oil and makeup caused by former bad habits? Try a Dead Sea facial mud mask for a serious reset.
5. You share hairbrushes and hair accessories. Do you keep the family scrunchies, combs, brushes and hairbands in one big basket? It might be fine for the fam... unless someone gets lice or a rash. But a communal format may encourage guests to do their own quick touchups with the tools in your powder room, increasing the likelihood of spreading whatever they might have. And if it's time to clean your hairbrush, please do it. Do it now.
Keeping it clean in the bathroom
It's hard to keep a home spa environment if your bathroom is dirty. Schedule regular cleanings to create an ambiance so bath time looks, feels and smells more like spa time! The good news is, regular maintenance of surfaces like counters, tile and corners will eliminate the need to get down on your hands and knees with a toothbrush and bleach for a whole morning, like some crazed Stepford wife.
All done? Put out some nice fluffy towels, move your toothbrush to a safe space, swap your callus shaver for a foot file, separate and clean hair styling tools, and wash your face. Now you're ready to set out your favourite SaltZ&Co natural bath and body care essentials like soap, bath salts and body butter and make bath time great again!