Tips To Prevent Skin Infections From Your Shower Sponge and Razor

Cynthia Bailey, MD|May 24, 2011

To prevent skin infections don’t let the personal care items in your shower sit in water. When your razor, exfoliating sponge, shower mitt or loofah sponge stay wet between uses they can harbor germs. These are the germs that cause folliculitis, yeast and fungal infections or worse. It’s a simple concept but, depending on your shower, the solution may require that you be a little creative. This important topic came up from a customer’s question. She had just ordered her skin care products from my website and wanted to be certain to use them correctly:

I just put in my first order with Dr. Baily Skin Care and I have a quick question about how to best use a couple of the products. I bought the Calming Zinc Bar soap and a Buf Puf Facial sponge - I read on your site that the sponge should be completely dried between uses because this helps decrease microbial growth. I've never used bar soaps because I've never seen a convenient way to keep them around where they don't end up a gooey puddle-y slimy mess. I'm wondering if you have any ideas on how to store these two products so that they dry between uses, but that is also more convenient than taking them in and out of the shower with me each time and trying to figure out a way to hang the sponge and keep the soap from puddling in a dish. Sharon

I know that this is a common question because I often see patients in my dermatology practice with razor bumps due to staph infections. When we talk about prevention they’re surprised to learn that their razors need to be dry and clean between uses. Most people keep their razors in the shower and showers can hold germs. This isn't just a problem with public showers like in a dorm or at a gym, it applies to your bathroom shower at home too. Your skin comes into contact with germs all day long. You wash them off when you wash your hands and bathe. Ideally the germs wash down the drain and you’re done with them. When your personal care items are sitting down low in your shower, especially in a soap dish that doesn't drain, then those germs may be hanging around.

Personal care items used on your skin when bathing need to be rinsed well and dry completely between use!

Dermatologist's Tips To Reducing Germs On Sponges, Razors and Bar Soap In Your Shower:

1.  Store them up as high as possible in the shower where they are less likely to be splashed by the water washing off your skin or bouncing off the shower surface. A high window or shelf in your shower is the perfect place to keep your razor, sponges, mitts or loofah. If your sponge has a hooked handle, you can hang it from your shower head. This is a great way to store a Body Buf Puf Sponge, Salux Cloth or back brush. 2.  Use a grate for items that sit on a surface. A grate allows all the water to drain off and allows air to circulate. Ideally it should not be made of a porous material like wood which itself may not fully dry. Stainless steel or plastic would be a better choice. I had fun looking on Amazon and here are links to some cleaver options:

Soap Grate

Shower Caddy

Locking Pole Shelf

3.  Rinse-off your shower sponge, mitt, loofah, exfoliating cloth or razor after you use them and get as much water off it as possible. Give them a good squeeze or a brisk flick before you step out of the shower. This gives them the best possible chance of drying-out fast. Don’t forget the soap and facial sponge that you keep at the bathroom sink. They need to dry-out between uses too. I taught my kids to lean their Facial Buf Puf up against the bottle of their facial cleanser so that the air could dry it out- the trick’s worked for years! Photo: Krikit

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