Bathroom germs lurk beyond toilet bowl

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It's no secret you'll find germs in the bathroom, but one doctor warns us those germs are lurking well beyond the toilet bowl.

For starters, think about where you stand.

According to Dr. Dan Allan of Cleveland Clinic, one of the germiest items is your bath mat.  

"If people do wash them or clean them, it's infrequent, and so they moist; they're damp; they're on the floor. They're probably not far from the toilet, and so there's a high risk of contamination and also a high risk of moisture, which will allow a lot of things to sort of continue to grow and fester," he says.

Dr. Allan says that towels hung on a bar to dry should be washed to remove dirt and debris every three to four days. Towels hung on a hook will likely need to be washed even more frequently because they tend to remain damp and can develop mold.

Mold can cause a variety of health issues, including stuffiness, cough or wheezing and can trigger asthma symptoms too. 

How about that shower curtain?

Dr. Allan suggests leaving the curtain closed after taking a shower, which allows it to dry out. Cleaning the shower curtain with a light bleach solution will help disinfect and kill bacteria.

Loofas are another bacteria-breeder. 

Dr. Allan says they have crevices where bacteria from the skin, like strep and
staph, can get trapped. They also hold moisture which can promote fungus and mold.

And when it comes to your toothbrush, make sure it's stored away from other items to avoid cross-contamination. It should also be kept upright so it dries properly - and kept far from the toilet.

"When you flush the toilet, there's very fine droplets that are released into the air of not only bacteria, but any other matter that's in the toilet. That can travel up to six feet," he warns.

Mold and bacteria thrive in moisture so running the fan or keeping the door open while you're taking a shower can help.