Those of us who are of a certain age can remember a time when television commercials were about problems other than what insurance to buy, or what prescription drugs to ask your doctor about, or what lawyer to call if you’re injured in an accident… Yes, back in the 1970s and 80s, people in commercials had REAL things to worry about—like bratty little kids pointing out the similarities between an elephant and the way their mom’s legs looked in saggy pantyhose. Or getting bullied about “ring around the collar.” Or snooping visitors checking underneath the tank of the toilet to judge one’s level of cleanliness.

That last problem was resolved by a little guy floating around the tank in a boat—the Ty-D-bol Man. He was always there to explain that using Ty-D-bol in your tank would turn your water blue, make your toilet easy to clean, and keep it free from germs, stains and odors.  

I haven’t seen the Ty-D-bol guy in a commercial in decades, but it turns out, Ty-D-bol is still a thing. I just saw it in the grocery store the other day.  Does it work? I have no idea. I’m not that kind of columnist. Sorry.

Here’s what I do know: Toilets are gross. But they are not even the grossest thing in your bathroom. According to my exhaustive research—thank you, Google—the dirtiest thing in most bathrooms are the shower curtains and shower floors.  In fact, your shower curtain and shower floor harbor over 60x more bacteria than your toilet seat.

Apparently this is true for several reasons. First of all—moisture encourages bacteria to thrive, and what stays moist longer than your shower curtain? Also, people are doing a lot more in the shower than just getting clean. They’re peeing in there. They’re shaving in there. They’re doing unmentionable things in there. I once had a roommate whose boyfriend kept a toothbrush in our shower so he could brush his teeth in there when he came to visit on the weekends. I didn’t really like that guy, and my disdain for him only grew when I thought about my feet standing on the places where he was spitting. Ew!! But apparently, he is not alone; four percent of Americans admit to doing this.

Speaking of toothbrushes—regardless of where you are brushing your teeth, even your toothbrush handle has more germs than your toilet seat. (Again I say, Ew!) This is partially because of the stuff that flies through the air every time you flush your toilet, but moreso, it’s about the fact that you use your grubby hands to hold that toothbrush, and you almost never clean off the handle.

Other studies have shown massive amounts of bacteria lurking in even more locations across the bathroom, like on light switches and door knobs and in the grout. The moral of the story is, your bathroom is a cesspool of disgusting germs. It might seem easy to tell when your toilet bowl needs to be scrubbed. But you also need to pay attention to the rest of your bathroom.

To that end, I have a few suggestions: Call on the professionals like the ones at Immaculate Clean to give that room a deep clean every once in awhile. Get on a regular schedule of scrubbing that shower curtain and floor in between professional cleanings. Don’t pee in the shower. (Seriously, why on earth are you even doing this? Heck, in most cases, an actual toilet is merely steps away!) Replace your toothbrush often. And please, don’t brush your teeth in the shower, especially if you want your girlfriend’s roommates to like you.