Is it Safe to Store Your Toiletries in the Dorm Bathroom?

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College life is a wonderful time, but it comes with its challenges, especially when it comes to communal living. One of the most significant challenges is the communal bathroom. For most students, the bathroom at home was a comfortable, private space with pleasant scents and soft towels. However, in college, you must share a bathroom with many people, and it can be beyond gross. From clogged toilets to soiled paper towels littering the floor, it’s far from the serene, peaceful atmosphere of your home bathroom.

Considering all the germs that thrive in the dorm bathroom, it’s necessary to decide whether it’s safe to keep your toiletries there or not. In this article, we’ll explore the risks associated with storing your toiletries in the bathroom and whether your dorm room is a better alternative.

Germ-mania, College Style

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona, is an expert on the organisms that live in and around the toilet. He has found that droplets of water containing invisible bacteria and viruses rocket out of the bowl with tremendous speed when someone flushes the toilet. This makes storing your toothbrush, razors, and other toiletries in the medicine cabinet a safer option.

The Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community conducted a study that found shower floors to be the most contaminated surface in college dormitories. Dorm toilets are relatively clean compared to the dorm shower, which is an oversized petri dish. The shower has a moist, humid environment, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. The shower has more than 40 times the number of bacteria than the toilet seat, with 43 percent of the shower floors containing fecal bacteria and 20 percent contaminated with Streptococcus, a spherical bacterium that can cause infections such as strep throat and scarlet fever. In addition to these, other microbes such as mold, fungi, and germs rest on the handles of sink faucets, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Public restroom floors, including those in dormitories, are also filthy, with about 2 million bacteria living on every square inch of floor surface. To survive dorm bathrooms, students should wash their hands often and wear flip-flops in the shower. Furthermore, students should be aware that the handles of dorm room fridges have twice as many bacteria as the toilet handles in shared bathrooms.

The dorm room is the most convenient place to store your shower caddy, but it can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. One way to prevent this is to throw away your makeup and toiletries every few months, as they lose their ability to fight bacteria over time. Clean your makeup sponges after each use and never share makeup, as it can spread germs. Skin care products and body washes have a shelf life of six months, but you can replace them earlier if you’re concerned about bathroom microbes. Wash your hairbrushes regularly with soap and water, and use disposable razors when shaving.

Other helpful precautions include flushing the toilet with your shoe, using a paper towel to open doors after washing your hands, wearing sandals or shower shoes, and using hand sanitizer and toilet seat covers. Keep your toiletries in a plastic bag and replace it periodically, and avoid putting purses, bags, books, or beer on the floor. The first stall in the bathroom is usually the cleanest, so use it if possible. If all else fails, use common sense and respect others by cleaning up after yourself and flushing the toilet.

The author of the article admits to being germaphobic and taking extreme measures to avoid contact with germs in public restrooms. Studies show that women’s restrooms are worse than men’s in terms of cleanliness.

Other Articles of Interest

  • Medical Misnomers: Why “Stomach Flu” is Not the Flu
  • The Fascinating World of Bacterial Communication
  • Testing Your Dorm Room Decorating Skills
  • Understanding Fecal Transplants and Their Benefits

Sources for Further Reading

  • ABC News on Toilet Seat Cleanliness
  • CDC Information on Hygiene-Related Diseases
  • Cigna’s Guide to Fungal Nail Infections
  • Fox News on Health Hazards in College Dorms
  • The New York Times on Germ Patrol in the Kitchen
  • Men’s Health on the Germs Lurking in Automatic Faucets
  • PR Newswire’s Study on College Students and Germ Protection
  • WebMD’s Guide to What You Can Catch in Restrooms


1. Is it safe to keep toiletries in my dorm room?

Yes, it is generally safe to keep toiletries in your dorm room. However, you should take precautions to prevent theft. Keep your toiletries in a locked cabinet or drawer, and do not leave them out in the open where anyone can take them.

2. What toiletries should I keep in my dorm room?

You should keep all the essential toiletries you need for your daily routine. This may include toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, deodorant, and any other items you typically use. Be sure to check with your roommate before bringing any products that have a strong scent.

3. Should I share my toiletries with my roommate?

No, it is not recommended to share your toiletries with your roommate. Sharing personal items can spread germs and increase the risk of infection. It is best to keep your toiletries separate and use your own products.

4. How should I organize my toiletries in my dorm room?

You can keep your toiletries organized by using a shower caddy or a toiletry bag. This will help you keep track of your items and prevent them from getting lost or mixed up with your roommate’s products. You can also use a small storage container or shelf to keep your items together.

5. What should I do if I run out of a toiletry item?

If you run out of a toiletry item, you can either purchase a new one or ask your roommate if they have an extra you can borrow. It is important to communicate with your roommate about sharing items and to respect their personal space and belongings.

6. Can I keep my toiletries in a communal bathroom?

It is not recommended to keep your toiletries in a communal bathroom as they can be easily lost or stolen. It is best to keep your items in your dorm room or in a locked cabinet in the bathroom if available. If you do decide to keep your items in a communal bathroom, be sure to label them with your name and keep them in a secure location.

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