Shower curtains are a bed of molds and bacteria – wash them regularly
After accumulating on the curtain, different bacteria multiply in the hot, humid and often dark shower environment, and experts say the bacteria persist even on organic compounds from our bodies
A study conducted by the Safe Home research and audit firm in Los Angeles found that many harmful bacteria live on the shower curtains. Specifically, their researchers tested three shower curtains and tested more than 500 people, and after analyzing the cultures, they came to the conclusion that 60 times more germs live there than on toilet bowls – meaning shower curtains are the dirtiest surfaces in the entire bathroom.
The bacterial strains present include gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, and the study’s authors say that most gram-negative bacteria are harmful to humans and can be antibiotic-resistant.
Where are the bacteria in the shower?
Study participants said the bacteria on the shower curtains end because of the following activities:
Fecal bacteria can be spread from toilets to curtains and a toothbrush by spraying water, experts say. After collecting on the curtain, the various bacteria multiply in the hot, humid and often dark shower environment, and experts say that the bacteria persist even on organic compounds released from our bodies.
Do we have to worry?
Charles P. Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, says that while bacteria in bathrooms have not yet been well studied, they are not associated with health risks for healthy people so far.
“Some pathogens have been discovered, but that shouldn’t be a problem for healthy people,” he said.
Although these organisms can infect a person through an open wound and worsen the condition in those with a weakened immune system, experts agree that bacteria on shower curtains are not a household threat.
Ohio Family Clinic Specialist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, recalled a study published in 2004 showing that 80 percent of the bacteria on the shower curtain came from two types of bacteria.
These types of bacteria are different from those recently found.
“One strain usually causes infection only in very rare cases and tends to endanger people with a weakened immune system,” Brown told Healthline, such as those being treated for diseases such as cancer, and autoimmune diseases or HIV.
But instead of worrying about bacteria in the bathroom, both Gerba and Brown suggest that we focus our attention on mold, which they agree is the biggest problem, and mold like bacteria, does well in environments such as the bathroom, especially the shower curtain that is wet.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, mold exposure is associated with health problems such as eye irritation, chronic cough, skin rash and sore throat.