10 Areas in the Dormitory Bathroom That are Often Overlooked When Cleaning

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Dorm Life

Ever wondered where the hidden germs are in the bathroom, and how to get rid of them?
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The dormitory bathroom, where students gather for various purposes, is a breeding ground for germs. It’s hardly surprising, given that there are 100 trillion bacteria on and inside the human body, which amounts to about 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) of microscopic creatures. If you were to collect all the bacteria in your body, they would form a mass about the same size as your liver [source: Allday]. And if you multiply that number by the number of people who use the bathroom regularly, which could be twelve or more, it’s quite disgusting, isn’t it?

While some bacteria have beneficial effects, others can cause problems. While one type of bacteria can regulate intestinal health, another can cause food poisoning.

You can improve the cleaning routine in the germ-infested areas and gain the upper hand. No, we’re not talking about college cafeterias. Fight back by cleaning the 10 areas that everyone else has forgotten.

10: Showerheads


Showerheads tend to get blocked if they are not cleaned regularly.
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A hot, steamy shower is perfect for early mornings, short nights, and long study sessions. Until the showerhead’s performance drops from a steady flow to a paltry sprinkle. Over time, mineral deposits will start to clog up a showerhead, making it less effective than it was before.

Don’t be surprised if the showerhead in the dormitory bathroom doesn’t get much attention from the weekly cleaning crew or your fellow students. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to clean. Put white vinegar in a plastic bag and seal the bag around the showerhead. Let it sit overnight, then use an old toothbrush to scrub off the residue. You’ll feel like you’re in a tropical waterfall for your next shower (as long as you have a good imagination) [source: Martha Stewart].

9: Shower Curtains


If your shower curtain is made of natural fabric, you can wash it in hot water in the washing machine.
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How dirty can a shower curtain get? After all, it’s in the shower, which is designed for cleaning.

As it turns out, shower curtains attract mildew and grime. If you’re unsure, check the folds and seams of your shower curtain to see what you find. Yuck!

The good news is that shower curtains are one of the easiest things to clean. If your shower curtain is made of natural fabric such as hemp or cotton, wash it in hot water in the washing machine. If the mildew has started to colonize and form a political system, add a quarter-cup of bleach to the water. If it’s only loosely organized, ordinary laundry detergent should suffice.

Surprisingly, you can also wash vinyl or synthetic shower curtains, as long as you keep the water warm. Pay attention to vinyl shower curtain liners, too, by scrubbing them with a 1:10 bleach-to-water ratio [source: Martha Stewart].

8: Cleaning Toilet Bases and Handles


Have you ever thought about cleaning your toilet handle? It’s important to do so since the toilet is usually flushed before washing your hands, making it a potential breeding ground for germs. Although cleaning the base of a toilet is not a pleasant task, it is necessary for a fresh-smelling bathroom and to prevent mildew growth. To clean the base, use a disinfecting spray or undiluted white vinegar, paying close attention to the areas where the base meets the floor. Dry with paper towels or a separate towel designated for cleaning. Don’t forget to clean the toilet handle as well. Disinfect it regularly since it is touched before washing hands. Cleaning the toilet base every couple of weeks should suffice, but the handle should be cleaned more frequently.

[source: Design My Space]

7: Washing Bath Mats


Bath mats in dorms can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold due to their perpetually damp and undisturbed environment. To prevent this, wash them once a week in the washing machine with a liberal amount of detergent and the highest water temperature the material allows. Air-dry the mats before returning them to the bathroom floor. Avoid washing them with other items to prevent cross-contamination. Don’t forget to scrub the bathroom floor before replacing the mats for extra cleanliness.

[source: Butler]

6: Cleaning Toothbrush Holders


Toothbrush holders are often overlooked when cleaning, but they can harbor a lot of germs. According to NSF International, toothbrush holders are the third germiest item in the household, following the kitchen sponge and sink. Clean them once a week by washing them in hot, soapy water or wiping them down if they’re stuck to the wall. For added protection, wipe them down with a disinfecting wipe in between cleanings. Let your toothbrush air-dry to prevent germs since most are anaerobic and will die when exposed to oxygen.

[sources: BreathMD, NSF International]

5: Holder for Toilet Paper


Each time the toilet is flushed, it creates a large spray of germs that spreads throughout the bathroom. This means that germs are on the toilet paper roll and its holder.
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Cleaning the toilet paper holder? Are we supposed to be neat freaks? No, but we are about to give you some unpleasant knowledge: Every time the toilet is flushed, it creates a large spray of germs that spreads throughout the bathroom. Yes, all the things that were in your toilet are now outside, raining invisible germ droplets all over the things you touch the most, such as that roll of toilet paper and the apparatus that holds it in place.

Clean this neglected area by first removing the roll of toilet paper and spraying the toilet paper holder with a disinfectant and letting it dry. This will ensure that the antibacterial ingredients in the spray do their job of fighting germs. Then, spray the toilet paper holder again and wipe it down to remove dust and grime [source: The Maids].

4: Light Switch


The bathroom light switch is a prime spot for staph bacteria to land.
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What is the first thing you do when you enter the dorm bathroom? If there are no automatic light-activating sensors, chances are you turn on the light. And you probably did not wash your hands before entering the bathroom. Consider the “remote” possibility that some of your dorm mates may not be shining examples of personal hygiene. What if they use the bathroom facilities, turn off the light switch, and exit without washing their hands?

The bathroom light switch is a prime spot for staph bacteria to land. This bacteria, which usually lives on the skin, can be transferred to surfaces that people touch. Although it is not usually harmful, it can enter your body through a cut, scrape, or the mouth, eyes, or nasal membranes. And when it does, it can cause a serious infection that will require medical intervention [source: Alliance for Consumer Education].

Alternatively, you can clean the light switch every day with an antibacterial cleaner. We know which option we would choose.

3: Behind the Sink


You would be surprised at the dirt that exists behind your bathroom sink.
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Once there was a forgotten creature that thrived in dark, damp isolation. As it grew, it became more greedy, expanding its reach until it could no longer be ignored.

Does this sound like the plot of a thriller that is opening in theaters this weekend? You wish. This is actually the true story of the germ-infested dirt that exists behind the sink and faucet in your dorm bathroom. Fortunately, it is incredibly easy to combat. Get rid of the bacteria-laden mineral deposits or mildew by adding one simple step to your bedtime routine.

Once a month, soak paper towels in white vinegar and wrap them around the faucet. Make sure that the back of the faucet is completely covered. Let them sit overnight, then peel off the towels. Fill the sink with warm water, add a bit of soap, and use an old toothbrush to scrub the faucet to remove any remaining residue. As a bonus, you will also have a clean and shiny sink basin [source: Reader’s Digest].

You can also take that old toothbrush, dip it in bleach, and scrub behind the sink.

2: Mirror


The problem of foggy bathroom mirrors is one that many students face, especially when sharing a bathroom with suitemates or dormmates. It always seems to happen at the worst possible time, like when you have three minutes to get ready for class. To combat this issue, you can clean and defog your bathroom mirrors using two bowls, a cleaning cloth, room temperature water, and white vinegar. First, clean the mirror with a mixture of one quart room temperature water and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Then, wipe the mirror with a mixture of one quart hot water and two tablespoons of white vinegar, and let it dry. This will leave your mirrors clean and shiny.
(Source: Apartment Therapy)

1: Trash Can


Emptying the trash can in your dorm bathroom is not enough to keep it clean. After removing the garbage, the trash can itself needs to be cleaned. To do this, place the trash can in the shower and rinse it inside and out. Then, spray its surface with a mixture of two tablespoons white vinegar and one quart hot water, or an over-the-counter disinfectant cleaning spray. If you use the trash can as a catchall, opt for a cleaner meant for pet messes, which contains enzymes that break down organic molecules and kill bacteria. Scrub the trash can with a brush, rinse it, and allow it to air-dry. Before putting a trash liner into the clean trash can, place a couple of ultra-scented fabric softener sheets to help eliminate odors.
(Sources: Apartment Therapy, Real Simple)

Lots More Information

Author’s Note: 10 Spots in the Dorm Bathroom Everyone Forgets to Clean

Keeping your dorm bathroom clean can be a challenge, especially when you have other things to worry about. However, it’s important to keep mold, mildew, and bacteria at bay to prevent illnesses. Make sure to clean often and use disinfectant sprays to keep your bathroom as clean as possible.

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  • Keep Your Dorm Bathroom Hygienic with These Tips

Sources

  • Erin Allday’s “100 Trillion Good Bacteria Call Human Body Home” article in the San Francisco Chronicle on July 5, 2012
  • Alliance for Consumer Education’s “Stopping Germs in the Bathroom” webpage
  • Apartment Therapy’s “Bathroom Cleaning Tips” webpage
  • Apartment Therapy’s “How to Clean and De-Fog Bathroom Mirrors, Toxin-Free” webpage
  • BreathMD’s “How to Clean and Store a Toothbrush” article on April 29, 2011
  • David Butler’s “The 21 Germiest Places You’re Not Cleaning” article on Greatist on May 24, 2012
  • Design My Space’s “5 Dirty Places You Forget to Clean in Your Bathroom” article on May 7, 2013
  • The Maids’ “The Maids Offer Tips to Fight Bathroom Bacteria” article on Jan. 19, 2012
  • Martha Stewart’s “Homekeeping Solutions” webpage
  • National Science Foundation’s “Top Ten Germiest Places in the Home” webpage
  • Reader’s Digest’s “9 Bathroom Cleaning Problems Solved” webpage
  • Real Simple’s “The Worst Cleaning Jobs Made Easy” webpage

FAQ

1. What are the 10 spots in the dorm bathroom that are often forgotten?

The 10 spots in the dorm bathroom that are often forgotten include the showerhead, drain, toilet brush holder, toilet seat hinges, soap dish, toothbrush holder, mirror, light switch, doorknob, and baseboards.

2. Why is it important to clean these spots?

It is important to clean these spots in the dorm bathroom to maintain a clean and healthy living environment. Neglecting these spots can lead to the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew, which can cause health problems and unpleasant odors.

3. How often should these spots be cleaned?

These spots in the dorm bathroom should be cleaned at least once a week to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. However, high-traffic areas like the showerhead and drain may need to be cleaned more frequently.

4. What cleaning products should be used?

The cleaning products that should be used depend on the specific spot being cleaned. For example, a disinfectant spray can be used on the toilet brush holder and toilet seat hinges, while a vinegar solution can be used on the showerhead and drain to remove hard water stains.

5. How can students remember to clean these spots regularly?

Students can set a reminder on their phone or calendar to clean these spots regularly. They can also create a cleaning schedule with their roommates to ensure that everyone takes turns cleaning the bathroom. Additionally, keeping cleaning supplies easily accessible in the bathroom can make it easier to clean these spots regularly.

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