Your bathroom is an essential part of your home and is, at times, considered a relaxing retreat from the stress of day-to-day life. Of course, what we don't think of when we're hurrying through our morning routines or sliding into a bubble bath at the end of a long day is just how dangerous our bathroom can be.
Well, here's a wake-up call you might not have known you needed: the bathroom houses some of your home's most serious dangers.
Naturally, you can't have a water closet without the water. But when it doesn't stay where it should, water quickly becomes the number one danger in your bathroom. More people are injured, even fatally, in bathroom falls than in any other room of the house. And the two biggest causes of water winding up on the bathroom floor? A poorly fitting shower curtain and simple wet feet.
You'll get the most leak protection with a shatterproof glass door for your shower instead of a curtain. But if a door doesn't work for your shower, leaks can be minimized by hanging a curtain liner that falls inside the tub and a second, decorative curtain that falls on the outside. And to prevent slips, opt for tiles that have a slightly uneven surface in your shower (think bumpy, smaller tiles rather than large, smooth squares) so your feet can grip onto something.
Changing the floor in your shower not in the budget? Stick decorative nonslip decals on your shower or bathtub floor! Outside the shower, keep nonskid rugs on the floor where you exit your shower or bath and in front of the sink. And since basic scatter rugs can be a tripping hazard in and of themselves, make sure you're getting rugs that absorb moisture and stay in place on the floor.
Everyone loves a hot, steamy shower. The problem? So does mold. Moisture left behind from all that steam can ravage a bathroom and create health problems, especially for those who already have respiratory issues like allergies or asthma.
The type of mold you're usually dealing with in these situations is called Stachybotrys, and it's a black, sticky, slimy fungus that loves water. Breathing in its spores can cause headaches and nausea and exacerbate asthma-related symptoms.
Luckily, a simple chlorine solution can clean up the black mold you're most likely to find in your bathroom. Just make sure to wear the proper protection (a mask and gloves) when cleaning it up. And properly ventilating your bathroom to keep surfaces dry can help prevent the mold from forming.
Whether you have a standing shower or a tub in your bathroom, the floor of it is out to get you, and it's all because of your cleaning regimen. All of the products we use in the shower and bath - shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bath gel, shaving cream, etc. - collect as residue on the sides and floor, making them ultra slippery.
The trick to besting this bathroom hazard is a simple one: just clean off the soapy buildup regularly. Between major cleanings, giving the shower or tub a quick wipe down with a washcloth after each use can minimize slickness. Of course, for more ease of mind, you can also install well-anchored grab bars where slips are likely.
A Space Heater
Space heaters aren't uncommon in bathrooms; if you're trying to save on heating or have a child or older adult in the house who's sensitive to the cold, they can come in quite handy. But even when they're out of the bathroom and away from water, space heaters are notoriously unsafe appliances. In the bathroom, they can be downright deadly.
Like any electrical appliance in the bathroom, space heaters are a potential risk of electrocution. Another space-heater danger in the bathroom is the possibility that a towel or throw rug, or even a bit of tissue or toilet paper, can catch fire.
While they're handy, space heaters are safest left outside your bathroom. If keeping warm is a problem, it's best to install a permanently wired heating system just inside the bathroom. For a less invasive solution, run the shower for a bit before you use it to produce warming steam. For some luxurious warmth after your bath, fluff your towels and a cotton robe in the dryer while you're washing so that they're warm and ready when you get out.
Your Shower Door
For our last bathroom danger, we're revisiting that shower door. Most of the time, it should work just fine keeping that water inside the shower. However, they've been known to shatter due to improper installation or by someone falling hard against the door. Because most shower doors are made of tempered glass, they tend to break instantly into many small pieces rather than larger, jagged ones. The tempered glass makes it less likely to cause a bad cut, but it can still seriously injure anyone who then falls onto the glass bits.
To keep your shower door intact, avoid using the towel racks sometimes installed along them for support as this can cause stress. You should also regularly check older shower doors for cracks, chips, or glass rubbing against metal. And if you're ever stuck on the wrong side of a shattered glass shower door (or even the bathroom mirror), the safest way out is to throw a large towel over the shards.