It’s always a good day when I can begin a column with a caveat, because it means that we’re about to get really real with each other. So here goes: It is never my goal to turn my readers (lovers, each and every one of you) into an army of germophobes. I mean, maybe I do a tiny bit, but that has more to do with my evil and deviant nature than it does with my Clean Person-hood. I tell you that to tell you this: Today we’re going to talk about cleaning things that a lot of people don’t think about cleaning.
You may, upon reading about the whys and wherefores of cleaning, say, a puffer scrubber, be tempted to burn all of your personal care items. That is normal! But don’t actually do it because, while it’s an understandable reaction, it’s also quite extreme. It’s also unnecessary. Think of it this way —you’ve lived all this time using a dirty pumice stone and it hasn’t killed you yet.
With that said, there are very good reasons to clean that pumice stone! Or to remember to retire it in favor of a new one instead of sloughing your feet for a decade with the same stone. So let’s do this thing. Gird your loins!
How to Clean Shower Poufs, Loofahs and Shower Sponges
Here’s the tricky thing about showers: They’re the place we go to get clean, so it’s common for people to think of it as a clean place. Makes sense! Except: Warm, moist environments offer a tropical resort-like environment for all manner of bacteria, including mildew and mold. And that means that anything that’s stored in the shower, like those poufs that everyone hangs from the faucet, loofahs or natural sponges are also harboring that same bacteria.
To make matters worse, those items are frequently left wet and retain some of the soap you used to wash yourself along with dead skin. Those three things provide bacteria with food and water, so to speak, which means their a breeding ground for a lot of stuff you definitely don’t want coming in contact with your skin. (All the more reason why you should clean your shower/bath!)
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Given that, you should get in the habit of cleaning your body scrubbers every two to four weeks. This is a blessedly easy thing to do; truly, the hardest part is remembering to clean them.
One easy way to clean these items is to microwave them for 30 to 60 seconds; they should be wet before microwaving so they don’t roast in there!
You can also just toss them in the laundry along with a load of clothes, just be sure to either use the warm water cycle or, if using hot water, ensure that your machine doesn’t heat the water over 150 degrees, which can cause those plastic puffs to melt all over your J.Crew tee shirt.
One last easy way to clean shower sponges and suchlike is in the top rack of the dishwasher.
How to Clean Reusable Razors
Moving along to other things that live in our shower brings us to razors that have replaceable cartridges, like the Schick Intuition. The next time you replace the cartridge, take a good look at the razor’s mechanism. You will probably be grossed out by what’s in there! So it’s a good idea to clean it from time to time, though you won’t need to do so with anywhere near the frequency with which you should clean body scrubbers.
Soak your razor in a solution of either bleach and water or vinegar and water (don’t mix bleach and vinegar together, it creates a chemical reaction that produces dangerous fumes) for 5 to 10 minutes. If using bleach, dilute a teaspoon in four cups of water; vinegar can be mixed in equal parts with the water. Both have disinfecting properties and which you use is a matter of personal choice.
After the razor has soaked, scrub it with a toothbrush while it’s still submerged to remove any built-up debris. Then rinse it in hot water and dry it with a towel.
How to Clean Facial Brushes
Motorized facial cleaning brushes, like the ones made by Clarisonic, should be cleaned once a week. [That frequently? Shit! — Editor] It’s always recommended that you check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, as models can vary so much. But generally, the brush and handle can be washed with warm, soapy water. To dry, wipe the handle with a towel and then place the brush head on the towel, turn it on, and let it run for 5 seconds.
How to Clean Pumice Stone and PedEggs
Well, I promised you pumice stone care tips and pumice care stone tips you shall get! And then some bonus tips for cleaning those slightly disturbing PedEggs.
From time to time it’s not a bad idea to clean the thing that you’re using to scrub dead skin off your feet. Sure. It becomes imperative if you’ve gotten any kind of foot thing, like athlete’s foot or a plantar wart.
If you use a pumice stone for your footcare, you can either boil the thing for 10 minutes in a solution of four cups of water to two tablespoons of either bleach or vinegar or you can scrub it with a toothbrush and liquid soap, then allow it to air dry. Or, you know, you could just buy a new one.
If the PedEgg, or similar products, are your weapon of choice, you’ll want to clean the base and the removable roller separately. Because the base is motorized, it shouldn’t be submerged in water; instead, apply white vinegar or bleach to a cloth or rag and wipe the base thoroughly. If you’ll be reusing the roller, it can be washed with soap and hot water and then air dried before it’s put back in the base.
Okay! So that was fun and a little gross. Hopefully you’re not too freaked out right now, but I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped at the drugstore for a new loofah tonight, either.
READ MORE: He Tried It: Kale Cleanses With a Sonic Facial Brush