A Healthy (and Sanitary) Bedroom and Bathroom

Where and how you store your stuff can make a big difference in how clean and healthy your bathroom and bedroom are. Here are some tips to keep things sanitary — and help keep you and your family healthy.

For a clean and healthy bathroom:

  • Move your toothbrush away from the sink. The best place to keep your toothbrush is in a cabinet, behind closed doors. Why? Even the cleanest toilet is full of microbes that can become airborne when you flush. Do you want toilet water landing on your toothbrush? (I don’t. I’m moving mine into a cabinet today.)
  • Move your medicines out of the bathroom. They may call it the medicine cabinet, but the humidity and temperature changes in the bathroom may be reducing the effectiveness of your prescriptions. Store your medications in a cool, dry place — like a pantry.
  • Make sure you dry things out completely between showers. Remember my adventures with black mold in the bathroom? Mold can flourish in damp conditions. Drying things out can help prevent the spread of harmful molds.

For a clean and healthy bedroom:

  • Don’t keep your shoes in the closet. The walk from your front or back door to the bedroom closet can track allergens and contaminants through the house. A 1999 study found that you could track lawn chemicals (like fertilizers and pesticides) into the house up to a week after the chemicals are applied. If you must keep your shoes in the bedroom closet, carry them — don’t walk.
  • As much as you may like to burrow down under a big pile of blankets to sleep (I do), it may actually be making it harder for you to reach dreamland. A study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that cooling off is a better way to help you get sleepy. A natural drop in body temperature at night cues your brain to start shutting down for the night.
  • Move your reading light if it’s overhead. Overhead reading lights can put out enough light to delay the body’s production of sleep hormone melatonin. Switch to a low-power light that clips directly to your book instead — the rest of the room will stay dark enough to cue your body’s sleep cycle to start.