It's obvious you should be wiping down your toilet, tub, and sink, but there are plenty of bathroom areas that your scrub brush is probably neglecting. Plus, consider those items you should be replacing altogether. Banish germs and bacteria by refreshing these everyday bathroom items.

By Jessica Banks
March 22, 2017

Pulling out the hair on your brush once it has accumulated isn't going to cut it. A hairbrush harbors more than hair. It also holds onto dust, dirt, oils, hair product, and even dust mites—not the kinds of things you want to be depositing on your clean hair every day. Pull out the excess hair daily, and shampoo your brush at least once a month by gently swirling it around in warm water and using your fingers or a clean toothbrush to scrub near the base of the bristles. Leave the brush out to dry, bristle side down, on a clean towel overnight and voila! Your brush is like new.

2. Bath Mats

If you've ever accidentally stepped on a bath mat hours after your shower and been greeted by cold water between your toes, you know excess shower water tends to linger. Bath mats have serious mildew potential thanks to their humid and wet environments, so be sure to wash them regularly. To avoid germs, mold, and mildew, toss a bath mat in the laundry machine with some bath towels—and make sure the water is cold if your bath mat is colored. If the mat has a rubber back, let it air dry. Otherwise, feel free to toss it in the dryer.

3. Loofahs

We love scrubbing with loofahs—but proceed with caution. Natural or not, these poufs are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold, yeast—and a host to all the dead skin cells you've scrubbed off in prior washes. Most experts recommend you remove loofahs from your bathroom routine permanently, but replacing them once every three to four weeks for natural sponges and every two months for the plastic variety is a good alternative. To keep them (and yourself) as clean and bacteria-free as possible, dry them between uses, don't use them right after you shave, and clean them weekly by soaking them in a diluted bleach solution.

4. Toilet Brushes

Toilet brushes have one of the dirtiest, germiest jobs of all—and they often go uncleaned. Remove bacteria, grime, and fecal matter by soaking your toilet brush in a bucket filled with hot water and a few capfuls of bleach. After an hour, remove and rinse with hot water. Once it's dry, you can return it to its holder, but we recommend you clean that, too. Putting a clean toilet brush into a grimy holder would defeat your hard work.

5. Toilet Handle

Most of us clean the toilet bowl with due diligence, but the actual flusher—which everyone touches before they stop at the sink—often gets skipped in the cleaning process. To prevent the spread of bacteria, germs, and even fecal matter, give your toilet handle a good wipe-down every time you clean the bowl.

6. Makeup Brushes

That occasional blemish might have less to do with stress and hormones and more to do with dirty makeup brushes. When your brush bristles are no longer soft and your coverage starts to look cakey or streaky—about every two weeks—wash them with unscented bar soap, baby soap, or another mild cleanser made for human use. Bacteria, oil, and skin cells build up eventually, but storing your brushes somewhere sanitary (hint: NOT the bathroom counter) keeps them clean as long as possible.

7. Expired Medication

The ibuprofen that's been sitting in the back of your medicine cabinet for five years needs to go. It typically has a shelf life of 24 to 36 months. After that, it starts losing potency, so there's no reason for you to hold onto it. Check the expiration dates on all of your medications and get rid of them if you see they have gone bad. Be sure to read the label to find out the safest method of disposal.

8. Razor Blades

Although the word "disposable" in disposable razors isn't actually optional, many will use one until they can no longer deny the obvious signs of rust and wear. If you're going to hold onto your razor for as long as you can, be sure you rinse it thoroughly to get rid of any hair or shaving cream that might be lingering between the blades. Wipe it down with a cotton ball covered in isopropyl alcohol, and make sure it's stored somewhere it can dry out between shaves.

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