Should you get rid of the bath mat by your toilet?

bath mat

It might be a breeding ground for bacteria

When you go to the bathroom at night, the bath mat by your toilet is your feet’s best friend: the warm, fuzzy mat feels better than the cold bathroom floor. But now research has shown that your bath mat might actually be a furry home for bacteria to live in.

The ‘sneeze-effect’

In research conducted by Charles Gerba, an American microbiologist, it was found that when you flush the toilet a so-called ‘sneeze-effect’ occurs. This means that when you flush the toilet, a cloud of water droplets rises up from the bowl. It’s a cloud of invisible bacteria that live inside of your lavatory (like the bacteria found in urine and feces). The cloud rises up from the toilet bowl to then descend on the bathroom floor. The bacteria nestle on the areas surrounding your toilet, including the bath mat that you like to keep close to warm your feet at night. 

Throw it out?

Luckily you don’t have to throw the whole thing out yet. Even though the bath mat collects a lot of bacteria, it won’t cause you to get sick anytime soon. This is because the bacteria in your bath mat can’t easily find their way into your mouth, unlike the ones that would be on door handles or hand towels. So the risk of getting sick from the mat by your toilet is very small. That is if you don’t take naps on your bath mat, of course.

It would be good to wash the mat regularly to keep the risk to a minimum. Once a week would be enough in this case. Another solution is closing the toilet lid before flushing. This will keep the toilet sneeze inside of the bowl and will prevent bacteria from finding their way to the soft cozy bath mat to make it their home.

Also read: Things you shouldn’t be flushing down the toilet

Source: Margriet, Quest | Image: Unsplash