Experts are urging Americans to properly sanitize bath items like washcloths, loofahs, and more.

By Kelly Vaughan
April 29, 2020
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From our clothes to groceries to countertops, coronavirus can live on anything and everything. So, what about accessories that stay in your shower, such as washcloths, loofahs, and brushes? Experts say that COVID-19 can live on plastic for up to three days, which means that any shower tool made with plastic could serve as a home for the virus. However, just as washing your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds can kill the virus, the same can be said for shower tools.

Bathroom Shower
Credit: Fancy/Veer/Corbis

"Washing any object with soap—whether it be a shower tool, a toy, or your own hands—would disinfect and neutralize the majority of organisms and pathogens on the surface," Stanford infectious disease physician Sudeb C. Dalai tells HuffPost.

Instead of stocking your shower with plastic or wooden-handled tools, dermatologists recommend using washcloths, which are less likely to carry the virus and much easier to disinfect in the washing machine. "Cloth is much less likely to harbor the virus for long periods of time, as this material dries the virus out more quickly than other surfaces," board-certified dermatologist Melanie Palm told HuffPost. "Just remember that tighter weaves will dry slower, while open weaves more quickly."

Loofahs and shower puffs are the most challenging accessories to clean, as they can easily trap bacteria—not just coronavirus. Experts advise swapping out your loofah for a new one every few months, and suggest that you clean it thoroughly after each use with antibacterial soap or vinegar. "If you don't have either at home, you can use diluted bleach and soak the loofah for at least five minutes," says board-certified dermatologist Rina Allawh. After cleaning, hang it in a cool place so that it can thoroughly dry, instead of the moist, steamy shower, which can promote further bacteria and mold growth.

Experts also advise that every member of your household uses a different washcloth or loofah to avoid the spread of germs.

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