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If you've been ill recently your plughole could be to blame – here's how

Mirror logo Mirror 10/11/2017 Joshua Barrie
a man sitting at a table: Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty

It turns out that ball of gunky hair in your shower plug could be making you ill.

The plughole can be a hideous place, clogged full of grease, dirt, straggly hair and old soap. It could also be harbouring harmful bacteria.

Past being unsightly, your plughole could also be making you ill. New research from the University of East Anglia suggests that the sludge that plods its way down the plughole after every wash doesn’t just cause blockages, but can also result in the growth of dangerous biofilms inside your plumbing.

Biofilms are thin layers of microorganisms that can be cosy homes for bacteria. Over time, they might develop into dangerous pathogens.

These pathogens might then filter through your home, wafting about the place and making you unwell.

"Within shower and bath drains the environment would be warm, moist and saturated with waste such as hair and skin flakes, being hospitable for microbial life," the study says.

Bacteria hiding in plugholes might come out after being pushed out by splashback, running water, and and filling up the basin or tub.

It can be especially hazardous in the kitchen, as bacteria in a dirty plughole might somehow interact with foodstuffs.

In the bathroom, meanwhile, you might breathe in the microbes, or they may settle on your skin.

Credits: Universal Images Group Editorial © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Universal Images Group Editorial

The study adds: "Sink and bath drains and plugholes, within both the hospital and a domestic setting, are troubling reservoirs for microbes, many of which are opportunistic pathogens and present threats to patients and house owners.

"Plugholes and drains in both the domestic household and hospitals pose potential health consequences and could promote the spread of diseases."

It's important to note here that the the study was commissioned by Buster, a drain unblocker. So of course they're going to tell you this stuff.

But the biofilms are fact. They build up in plumbing, and it's good to prevent them just in case. So bleach or whatever product dissolves dirt is a decent option.

Sink sieves are also good. They capture hair and other mess and stop it from going down the plughole.

The biggest offenders for plughole blockages are fur, hair, sulfates (found in a lot of shampoo, shower gel, and face washes), silicone (in conditioner), toothpaste, bath oil, and physical dirt. All these bond together and encourage bacteria when left unchecked.

a young boy brushing his teeth in the bathroom sink © Getty Images
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