18 Things You Should Never Do in the Shower

Things You Should Never Do in the Shower

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Things You Should Never Do in the Shower
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Squeaky-Clean Tips

A hot shower is such a sacred part of our daily routine that many of us tend to lather up on autopilot, even if just to relax. But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement. From how you wash to how you dry, here are some bad shower habits experts say you’d be better off watching swirl the drain.

Related: Bathroom Products That Are a Complete Waste of Money

Take a Shower and Change Clothes

1. Shower Too Frequently

For many of us, the shower represents a little slice of luxury at home, and it’s hard to resist its siren song even when we’re not actually all that dirty. Many people may need to shower only a few times a week, or every other day, dermatologists say. Skipping the daily habit can help skin retain its moisture, preventing inflammation, not to mention saving water (and money). 

Related: Do Diluted Detergents, Soaps, and Shampoos Still Work?

shower head
ben-bryant / istockphoto

2. Let It Run Before You Get In

No one wants to hop into an ice-cold shower, but if you’re like many of us, you’re probably letting the shower run (and run, and run) for far longer than necessary before you get in. Experts say we may let as much as 30% of shower water go unused, which means we’re wasting (and paying for) several gallons a day. Moral of the story: Don’t turn on the shower and walk away — it will heat up a lot faster than you think. 

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Bathroom Fan
Monitor Water Temperatures When You Shower Or Bathe
Tero Vesalainen/istockphoto

4. Turn Up the Hot Water

There’s nothing quite like a long, hot shower for a little relaxation and stress relief, but think twice if you want to keep your skin in tip-top condition. Hot water can dehydrate the skin, dermatologists tell Allure, which is especially bad news for those who already have dry skin or conditions such as eczema, which can worsen with too much time in a hot shower.  

Washing Hair

5. Wash Your Hair Every Time

It’s hard to fathom for those of us who associate oily hair with “ick,” but removing that buildup too frequently can do more harm than good, leaving hair too dry and brittle, experts say. Most of us can get away with shampooing every other day, and people with very dry hair can go even longer. Using a dry shampoo, sprayed directly onto roots while hair is dry, can help absorb oil and extend time between washes. 


6. Choose a Soap That’s Too Harsh

Soap is soap is soap … right? Sure, in the sense that whatever you choose will get you clean. But some soaps are much easier on the skin than others, dermatologists warn. Steer clear of bar soaps with high pH, which can strip away the skin’s protective outer layers, leaving you dry, itchy, and more prone to irritation and infection. Cleansers labeled “neutral pH” are a good pick, Good Housekeeping recommends. 


7. Use an Old, Damp Loofah

If you lather up with a loofah, pouf, or some other kind of sponge, take note: All those little holes that let them soak up soap and water also prevent them from really drying out between uses, which can make for a “beautiful breeding ground for bacteria,” the Cleveland Clinic cautions. If you aren’t going to be vigilant about drying out, cleaning, and replacing sponges, sticking to a washcloth (or even just using your hands) might be a better bet. 

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Skip: Razors (For Female Facial Hair)

8. Swipe Someone Else’s Razor

We know, we know … you forgot to grab your own and you’re feeling a little prickly. Still, it’s best to keep your mitts off someone else’s razor. Experts say razors are a particularly efficient mechanism for spreading infections (warts or jock itch, anyone?) and even viruses such as herpes. No thanks.


9. Leave Your Razor Behind

Assuming you’ve committed to using your own razor, now it’s time to take care of it. One of the best ways: Once you’ve rinsed it off thoroughly, pat it dry gently and take it with you when you get out of the shower, experts say. Otherwise, it might be tough for the blades to dry properly in the moist air (or worse, a puddle of water). That can ultimately rust your razor, as well as increase your risk of infection. 

Washing Face in Sink

10. Wash Your Face

Experts are divided on this one, but many dermatologists caution against washing your face in the shower — first, because the blasting water is too hot for delicate facial skin, and second, because traces of the other products you use, from shampoo to shower gel, can cause irritation if you still have residue on your hands. 

Towel in laundry

11. Dry Off With a Damp, Dirty Towel

We’re the first to say you probably don’t need to wash your towel after every single use. But as the Cleveland Clinic notes, towels should be dried thoroughly between uses and laundered at least weekly to keep bacteria, viruses, mold, and yeast at bay. Once a week may not be enough if you’re sick or storing them in a very humid place, and gym towels should probably be tossed in the hamper after every use.  

Caulk in bathroom

12. Ignore Old, Cracked Caulk

Caulk is truly the unsung hero of your bathroom, keeping everything together — literally. When it starts to crack and break down, it can absorb smells and give bacteria a place to grow and thrive, to say nothing of mold and mildew. Apartment Therapy says caulk should last five or so years, but warns us not to wait to replace it if it starts to look funky. The good news: This is an easy do-it-yourself project, even for the non-handy.  

Shower Drain

13. Rely on Chemicals to Unclog the Drain

When you suddenly find yourself showering in an inch of standing water, it’s all too easy to grab a bottle of chemical drain cleaner from the cabinet and go to town. But plumbers say they can ultimately damage pipes, no matter if the label says otherwise, leading to far costlier problems in the long run. A better bet, if you aren’t ready to call a pro: Using boiling water to loosen small clogs, or a snakelike hair grabber for bigger ones.  

Cleaning Shower

14. Let Soap Scum Build Up

While there’s little health hazard here, if you’ve ever tried to clean a shower door with a ton of built-up soap scum, you know it’s no easy task. Professional cleaners say an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure here. After showering, use a squeegee to get excess water off glass shower doors, The Maids recommend, and be sure to keep shower doors open after you’re done. 

Handicapped Disabled Access Bathroom

15. Neglect to Install Safety Features

The bathroom may seem like an innocuous place, but the CDC has said that about 640 people a day head to the emergency room for injuries they sustained there — most commonly slips and falls in the tub and shower. What’s more, that’s not just older folks who may not have great balance. Experts say grab bars are always a good idea, no matter your age. Another idea: Non-slip stickers that are less noticeable but just as effective as a mat.

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Dropping the soap

16. Use Oil-Based Products

Sure, this seems like a no-brainer, but if you're using hair or body oils in the shower, you're significantly increasing your chances of slipping and sliding your way to a serious injury — or worse. According to the CDC, around 235,000 people 15 and older visit ERs each year due to bathroom injuries, and the vast majority of those occur in the tub or shower. If you simply must use shower oils, invest in a non-stick bath or shower mat. 

motel door lock

17. Lock the Door

Privacy is important in the shower of course, but shower injuries are incredibly common. If you slip, fall, or get injured, you don't want to put yourself in a position where nobody can get to you. This is an embarrassing reality to grapple with, for sure, but worth it in the end.

Soap Holder

18. Use Soap Bar Dishes

If you prefer to use a bar of soap in the shower, consider ditching your soap dish. Over time, they can develop bacteria if they're not properly dried — and let's face it, nobody is drying their soap dish properly. Go for a wire rack instead to ensure better drainage.