When was the last time you replaced your plunger? You have no idea, do you? Do you even know how you got your plunger? Was it a gift? Maybe it came with the house?
Unless you’re a plumber or a major germaphobe, you probably can’t answer any of these questions. Same goes for your bathroom brush and toilet paper roller and all of your other poop tools. They’re just not really something you think about. But, as it turns out, they don’t last forever and eventually you’re going to need to replace something, so here’s how often you should replace them, and how to keep them clean in the meantime.
You’re welcome, fellow pooper.
YOUR TOILET BRUSH
Your bog brush is meant to last. You can probably get several years out of this toilet accessory, but you need to be sure you clean it regularly. The Germ Files author Jason Tetro says to spray it top to bottom with bleach or hydrogen peroxide, as “that should kill whatever is on the brush.” Then, while it’s still wet, just put it back in it’s holder. “Do this after every time you use it and every time you clean your bathroom too,” Tetro says.
We know, you have no idea how often to clean your bathroom, do you? Well, neither did we, so we asked. “Every two weeks,” Tetro says.
Like your toilet brush, you’ll probably get a few years out of your plunger, but it will be a bit more obvious when to replace them. “It’s designed to create a vacuum,” Tetro explains. “So if it can’t plunge anymore, it’s time to replace it.”
Ironically, the very thing that’s going to dry out your plunger is the same thing that’s going to make it last: Bleach. Over time, bleach will degrade the rubber or plastic and even the wooden handle will age, but this will take a while. To clean it, do the same thing that you did with the toilet brush and just spray the hell out of it. Then place it in an empty bucket and wait for it to dry, then disinfect the bucket, too. Just like the brush, do this after each use and, if it’s sitting near your toilet, do it again each time you clean the bathroom. The reason why this additional cleaning is important is because it will get rid of any pee-spray and any other lingering germs that may have latched onto it.
If you’ve got one of those weirdly shaped plungers where you’re not sure if you can spray every inch on the inside, Tetro says to put 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water in a bucket and just plunge the bucket a few times. This should get everything.
YOUR CLEANING CLOTH/SPONGE
As for whatever sponge or cloth you use to wipe down your porcelain throne, you may want to just chuck them after every use, especially if you’re not in the habit of labelling which sponge corresponds to which surface. If you’re sure that you’re not going to accidentally clean your dishes with it, though, Tetro says these can last about three months before they fray and break apart. To clean, toss them in a 10 percent bleach solution and chuck it in boiling water, then remove it when the water cools.
YOUR TOILET PAPER DISPENSER
“This is something people often forget about,” Tetro says. Given that they’re usually built into your wall, you’ll probably have it forever, but to prevent it from becoming a gross crap ecosystem, Tetro says to remove the roll of toilet paper and the roll holder (that tube with the spring inside) and spray the dispenser with bleach on the outside and inside.
YOUR TOILET PAPER ROLL HOLDER (AS IN, THE LITTLE SPRINGY ROLL THING INSIDE THE DISPENSER)
Clean this every two weeks when you clean the rest of your bathroom. Remove the roll of toilet paper, spray the holder with bleach and let it dry. This will probably last you a good five years or perhaps longer. Your only cue as to when to replace it is when the spring mechanism gives out.
If you happen to use the scented roller, assuming anyone does anymore, just replace those when the scent goes away.
YOUR BATHROOM MATT
Anything cloth has the potential to create a really goss ecosystem if you don’t clean them regularly, so your best bet is to launder stuff like this separately and with hot water. Bleach or a good detergent is the way to go here — do it at least once a month.
The same rules go for a toilet seat cover, which is good to know if you’ve gone back in time to the 1950s to take a crap.
YOUR TOILET SEAT
Plastic, porcelain and even wooden seat covers should last you a long time. Tetro’s only tip is, when you’re cleaning the bathroom (remember guys, every two weeks), let the bleach air dry off the seat, as wiping it off with water will dilute the bleach solution.
For a foam toilet seat, as soon at there’s some kind of tear in the fabric, all kinds of gross biofilms are going to invade that space, so chuck it at the first tear.
YOUR TOILET BOWL NIGHT LIGHT
Yes, this is a real thing. No, we don’t know why.
If you have one of these yourself, just disinfect the hell out of it when you clean the rest of your toilet accessories, but be careful not to soak the batteries in bleach. After all, what fun is taking a 2 a.m. poop if you can’t reenact scenes from Tron while doing so?