Of all the rooms in your home, the bathroom is one of the most important to keep sanitary. Bathroom surfaces can harbor all kinds of germs, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi like mold and mildew. Regular bathroom cleaning is key to keeping things sanitary, but there also several steps you can take to create a more hygienic space without the need for extra scrubbing and scouring. New bathroom innovations and technology like touch-free fixtures make it easier than ever to keep your bathroom clean for longer. Reduce the spread of germs and keep bacteria at bay with these easy ways bathroom updates.
1. Switch to touchless fixtures.
Fixtures that automatically switch on with the wave of a hand can help minimize your contact with potentially germy bathroom surfaces. Consider swapping out standard faucets and light switches for touchless versions. You can even upgrade your existing toilet with an automatic flush sensor using a DIY kit ($60, Amazon). Or simply switch out your regular soap dispenser for a motion-activated model ($50, Bed Bath & Beyond).
2. Swap out bath mats.
Fluffy bathroom rugs might feel luxurious underfoot, but plush materials can be a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria. In general, lightweight, quick-drying bath mats are a more hygienic alternative. Look for bathroom rugs made from materials like cotton, polyester, or wool that wick away moisture and dry fast. Bath mats made from natural materials such as bamboo or diatomaceous earth (which is made of fossilized algae) are naturally antibacterial and dry out much faster than fabric options. But if you’d rather not give up your soft bath mat, make sure to wash it in hot water (for designs without rubber backing) about every two weeks to eliminate germs and odors.
Providing a more effective clean than toilet paper alone, bidets are an easy way to make trips to the bathroom more hygienic. Now available as seat attachments ($79, Amazon), they can be installed in just a few minutes to transform a standard toilet into a bidet. Some even feature heated seats and warm-water spray functions for extra comfort and hydraulic seats that further limit your contact with germs. Plus, you can save money on paper products by washing instead of wiping.
4. Protect your toothbrush.
Storing your toothbrush out in the open can expose it to bacteria from toilet flushes and sink splashes. To keep your toothbrush clean between uses, stash it in a holder that protects and sterilizes the bristles. This toothbrush sanitizer ($50, Amazon) uses LED lights and heat cycles to eliminate moisture and up to 99.9% of germs.
Cleaning the toilet is often one of the most dreaded tasks on cleaning to-do lists, but it doesn’t have to be so onerous. An automatic toilet cleaning system can do much of the work for you, and it can be as simple as popping a tablet into the tank every four months. For example, these Clorox bleach tablets ($9, Amazon) work with every flush to sanitize the bowl, prevent stains, and reduce the need for scrubbing.
6. Remove excess moisture.
Too much moisture in the air can lead to mold and mildew growth and water-related damage to bathroom surfaces. To keep humidity levels in check, be sure to switch on the vent fan before every shower and leave it on for at least 20 minutes afterward. Consider turning down the water temperature to reduce the amount of steam, and, if possible, open a window. If moisture problems persist, consider placing a moisture-absorbing product like DampRid ($29, Amazon) on a countertop or back of the toilet. These small refillable canisters contain crystals that attract and trap moisture to eliminate dampness and odors.
Shower curtains and liners can become a harbor for mold, soap scum, and unattractive buildup. The good news is that most fabric curtains and liners can be simply tossed in the washing machine on a gentle cycle (check the labels first to make sure). To ward off bacteria growth before it starts, choose a liner with antimicrobial properties, like this one from Amazon ($11) that has more than 88,000 five-star ratings. It features a special treatment that inhibits mildew growth and protects against odors up to four times longer than regular liners.
8. Keep cleaning products nearby.
Even the most hygienic bathrooms need to be cleaned periodically. Make cleaning as convenient as possible by storing all the necessary tools and supplies inside a bathroom cabinet, closet, or other storage area. Stock a caddy with all-purpose cleaning spray, toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner, microfiber cloths, scrubbing brushes, rubber gloves, and other essentials. When it comes time to clean, everything you need will be in one easily accessible spot.