When people think of the dirtiest places in the house, the shower probably isn’t at the top of the list, in fact it’s more than likely believed to be one of the cleanest areas.
While this may be true for most, it seems no amount of scrubbing can stop the spread of some nasty bugs that more often than not call the shower, and the shower head in particular, home.
According to recent research published in the Journal mBio, the place that makes you feel sparkly and fresh, could also be making you sick, and those bugs are to blame.
Following tests of 656 households across the United States and Europe, experts from the University of Colorado found there are several strains of bacteria that live in showers, with some even able to cause lung infections.
These bugs apparently are more active while people are showering, and when inhaled can lead to serious problems. The study highlighted metal shower heads as more problematic than plastic ones, while chlorine disinfectants could also add to the growth of bacteria.
Thankfully, there is no need to stress too much, as according to the research the majority of the bacteria is fairly harmless, so the risk of developing a serious lung condition is quite small.
“There is a fascinating microbial world thriving in your shower head and you can be exposed every time you shower,” University of Colorado professor Noah Fierer told the New York Post.
“Most of those microbes are harmless, but a few are not and this kind of research is helping us understand how our own actions — from the kinds of water treatment systems we use to the materials in our plumbing — can change the makeup of those microbial communities.”
However, those with weakened immune systems should be wary and make sure to keep the shower as clean as possible by giving it a good scrub once a week.
The shower isn’t the only place in the house that should receive a thorough cleaning with door handles, the kitchen sink, makeup bags and the washing machine highlighted as ideal places for bacteria growth. While remote controls, mobile phones and lunch boxes are also a cause for concern.
But do not fret. According to Healthline there are plenty of ways to minimise the chance of developing an illness from the nasty bugs, and they are all quite easy.
Wiping down furniture and other household items with disinfectant wipes will do the trick, as well as taking shoes off before walking through the house and washing your hands after using the bathroom or touching raw food.
On top of this, people should replace bathroom towels once a week and toothbrushes every three to four months.