Psst — wanna hear a filthy story?

Rather than simply clean this one standard bathroom item on the regular, it appears some of us are throwing in the proverbial towel — with potentially dire consequences.

Experts say everyone should be washing their bathmats every one to two weeks — but the reality is far more grim.

“A survey found a third admitted to washing their mats just two times a year,” according to Rikki Fothergill, a cleaning expert from the UK e-commerce company Big Bathroom Shop.

The bathmat has even more bacteria than a toilet seat, professional cleaner Bailey Carson told Insider.

Frequent washing is important should someone want to keep their bathroom a mold-free environment, especially as we approach the winter months.

“It’s important to note that with increased humidity levels … you may want to wash more often than usual to avoid build-up of mold,” Carson warned. 

In addition to mold, the bathmat harbors bacteria released every time the toilet flushes. To stop the spread of bacteria when you flush, close the toilet lid before you do, she said.

Bathmats have more bacteria than the toilet, according to one expert.

Another way to protect against mold is by getting a liner for your bathmat, Fothergill explained. 

Liners can decrease the amount of mildew growing under the mat and can be washed separately. 

Another way to lessen mold or mildew on the mat is to hang it to dry between baths or showers.

When cleaning your mat, be sure to take note of the material. 

While some can be popped directly in the washing machine, if they’re a bright color you will want to wash them on the gentle cycle to keep the integrity of their hue, explained Fothergill.

Make sure to check the material of your bathmat before throwing it the wash.
Make sure to check the material of your bathmat before throwing it the wash.

“Cleaning a rattan mat will require more care to avoid damaging the natural material. You’d be better using a cloth to carefully wipe down as opposed to washing in a machine like a regular cotton mat,” she said. 

If your mat has suction cups, you’ll need some hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach.

“Put the mat in your tub or large sink with the suction cups facing upward, rinse in hydrogen peroxide or a heavily diluted bleach solution for a few hours, then scrub with a bristle brush,” Carson said. 

The bathroom isn’t the only place in your home where bacteria is hiding. 

Earlier in the year, gut health expert Jordan Haworth revealed the 10 household items that have the most bacteria in a now-viral TikTok, claiming 70% of people aren’t cleaning commonly used objects enough.

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