This may sound outlandish but, would you consider washing your dishes in the bathroom?
You’ve probably never found yourself in this situation.
However, let’s say you’ve found yourself in a house without a kitchen sink or any other fixture that looks like one, but you have one and even a clean sizable bathtub in the bathroom.
The temptation is real – you could end up in the bathtub with all your utensils, scrubbing, and whistling.
Based on what I’ve heard from health experts and the gross sound of the whole idea, I think it would be for your own good not to take any of your kitchenware into the bathroom.
Let’s admit it, every surface and corner in your home harbors some forms of germs, but your bathroom is probably the filthiest of all, maybe filthier than your socks.
A big part of the bug population in your bathroom comes from the toilet, the most prolific maker of most germs in your home.
5 Reasons For Your Dishes To Avoid The Bathroom
Here is why should never wash your dishes in the bathroom:
1. The Bathroom Sink Is a Germhole
Regardless of how sparkling clean you’ve tried to keep your sink and everything else in your bathroom, there will always be a few colonies of harmful bugs lurking all over the place.
The number and diversity of these germs, however, may depend on how regularly you’ve been cleaning the place. A dirty and badly managed bathroom should disgust you by sheer imaginations of this idea.
Remember that the mere fact that the sink fixture is close to the toilet makes it subject to contamination with all forms of restroom contaminants – we are talking about fecal bacteria, hepatitis, streptococcus, E. coli, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, shigella (infamous for causing Shigellosis) and pretty any other bug that might give you a upset stomach.
Therefore, putting your dishes on bathroom sinks, no matter how spirited your scrubbing is, exposes them to bugs.
And because you will not think about disinfecting your dishes after washing them, there is a strong chance those germs will end up in your gut.
2. The Bathtub Is Where You’d Rest Your Butt and Scrub Your Feet, Yuck!
If the sink is too small for your pile of dishes, you might be tempted to wash them in the bathtub, a worse off place compared to the sink.
Think about it: the bathtub is one of those places you’d scrub your dirty feet and everything, why would you even wash your pans and cups in there?
Gross as it may sound in imaginations, the clean and glossy appearance of your bathtub can actually lead you into thinking it’s perfectly OK to wash your dish from there.
The bathtub has its share of the restroom’s bug population as well. Swab any sparkly looking bathtub with cotton wool, prepare it, look at it under a microscope and you’d definitely see colonies of all types of germs.
Salmonella, Streptococcus, E. col, and all members of the Bacteroidaceae family (a type of bacteria often found in poo) are some of the germs that inhabit the brim of a frequently used bathtub.
That’s mainly because of the bathtub’s proximity to the toilet, not the fact that everyone rests their butts there while scrubbing. If these bugs end up sticking on your dishes and eventually in your stomach, you might get an infection.
3. In the shower? Still not a good idea
If you are fortunate to have one of those bathrooms that come with a tap right below the shower fixture, you might say to yourself, “well, the sink and bathtub are kinda gross, but why not wash under the tap?”
It takes a lot of restraint to avoid washing your dishes under this tap once you’ve ruled out all other options – what’s its purpose anyway?
The worst thing about washing your dishes under the bathroom tap is that it is positioned very close to the floor, which isn’t really a clean place if you consider the number of times you’ve scrubbed your legs on the floor.
You might find yourself putting the soap, sponge, and any other washing items on the floor.
Also, part of the poop bacteria from the toilet ends up on the floor and begins to multiply there waiting for you to be reckless enough to transfer them to your food preparation cycle.
And because the floor under your shower is always moist, and the bacteria love to be moist, it is reckoned the floor is the second friendliest place for bacteria multiplication only after the inner folding of your toilet seat.
4. Tap Handles Are Never Sterile
All tap handles in your bathroom have germs on them. Handles on kitchen taps too can have pathogens depending on your level of cleanliness, but those in the bathroom are worse.
Whether you choose to use the sink, the tap under your shower, or the bathtub, you will have to adjust your water using the handle. This opens an opportunity for germs to stick on your hands and end up on your dishes.
So, never wash your dishes under the bathroom tap.
5. What If You Dropped A Spoon in The Toilet?
You know, if you dropped anything in the kitchen sink while rinsing, you wouldn’t think twice to mix it with other dishes and use it again.
What if you dropped it in your toilet?
Would you ever think of using it again?
Regardless of how hard you may scrub it with the best soap and disinfectant on the planet, the stigma remains.
How To Disinfect Your Bathroom’s Surfaces
However, if the bathroom is the only place you would wash your dishes on the planet, it only makes sure that you begin by disinfecting the surfaces thoroughly.
Disinfection helps get rid of the disease-causing bugs and even make it suitable enough for any activity – washing your dishes, washing laundry, or just spending extra time tending your beard or applying some makeup.
The sinks are the best places to start your disinfection:
1. Spray a disinfectant bath cleaner, like Lysol or Clorox, all over your sink, and let it kill the germs for about 5 minutes before wiping the surface with a clean sponge or cloth.
2. Spray the faucets (lots of microorganisms do hide in faucets and other hard-to-reach crevices of the sink) and handles with the disinfectant and use a pointed object to reach and clean those hard-to-reach areas. Let them remain wet for some time before wiping with a sponge.
3. Because the toilet is the main source of most of your bathroom germs, buy the most effective disinfectant you can find and supplement it with a regular toilet cleaner.
4. Automatic disinfectants like Lysol are effective but you might want to try out natural options, like Green Works because they add a natural long-lasting scent. Odor solutions too should be used to remove the repulsive smell.
In a nutshell
Washing your dishes in the bathroom exposes you to four deadly bacteria:
1. Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Shigella
These are originally poop bacteria (they are passed around in poop) belonging to the Bacteroidaceae family, a group with significant clinical importance.
Studies show that hand dryers and splashes from usual cleaning tend to blow these bacteria from your toilet seat to other surfaces as far as the sink, shower, tubs, mirrors, and even your toothbrush.
2. Staphylococcus aureus
It causes internal infections, boils, and can be a co-factor in many skin diseases. The MRSA superbug, a variety of staphylococcus, has been found to be resistant to most of the commonly used antibiotics.
3. E. coli
E. coli, just like most other members of the extended Bacteroidaceae, can be found living naturally on the body, but can turn pathogenic when things go out of hand.
If you contract them from the bathroom or any other surface they shouldn’t be, you might end up with a severe traveler’s diarrhea, and UTIs. It also contributes to pneumonia complications.
These bacteria cause shigellosis which is mainly spread through poop. If they end up on bathroom surfaces, which is more likely, and finally on your dishes, you can count yourself their host.
It doesn’t hurt to wash your dishes in a bucket outside anywhere in your home but in the bathroom.
It is not just because this space was not designed with such a thing in mind, but also because it is a haven of pathogens that could see you hospitalized.
Staphylococcus, E. coli, and Shigella are some of the pathogens that may end up on your dishes.
If the bathroom is your last resort, you can begin by disinfecting the surfaces.
A thorough scrubbing on the sinks, taps, and even the floor with an effective bathroom cleaner such as Clorox is enough to make the room near-sterile and safe.
You might want to accompany your disinfectant with other recommendations of your choice, provided they get rid of the microorganisms.
Regular cleaning exercises can also help in reducing the number of microorganisms lurking around.
Remember to wash your hands after you’ve used the toilet to prevent transferring the pathogens to tap handles.