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Your house is meant to shield you against the outside environment and keep you comfortable and safe. Unfortunately, the abundance of infection-causing bacteria and fungal spores may make this a challenge. 

Here are some of the items in your house that may cause nasty yeast infection and other health problems

1. Pet beds and toys

Ringworm is not actually a worm, but a zoonotic fungus that can spread between animals and humans. The spores of this fungus are found in the soil and can be picked up by a pet and transferred to all the surfaces they come into contact with.

What you can do: Don't worry; there is no way we will make you let the pets sleep outside. If you suspect that your pet has ringworm, consult a vet for the proper treatment, which might include an oral antibiotic. But ringworm is hard to get rid of – you will also need to treat the environment, as ringworm can survive for up to 18 months. 

If your pet has ringworm, it’s better to limit them to one room or area to prevent the yeast infection from spreading to the rest of the house. Vacuum the rugs and floors properly and hygienically dispose of the bag, or empty the plastic canister into the outside garbage bin. Wash all pet bedding and toys in a bleach solution and disinfect floors and surfaces with a mild, diluted bleach solution.

boston terrier in pet bed 

2. Your bathroom cabinet – personal grooming items

From hair brushes to toenail clippers and makeup brushes and sponges – these objects regularly come into contact with the skin, and we don’t clean them as often as we should.

According to a previous Health24 article, specifically addressing the risks of makeup and applicators, research on a variety of personal toiletries and beauty equipment has shown that Bacillus, Staphylococcus spp., Pseudomonas spp., Enterobacter, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Candida are the predominant organisms found in cosmetics.

What you can do: Everyone in the family should use their own personal grooming tools and these should regularly be sanitised in a solution of hot water and anti-bacterial liquid. Clean any tools, especially after you’ve had an yeast infection, or better yet, discard them.

beauty tools on white background 

3. Pillowcases

Your pillow is meant to be a safe place where you can rest your head after a long day. But don’t get complacent – your comfort spot may harbour some nasty bacteria if you don’t regularly change your linen. Pillowcases can harbour bacteria and organisms, including the fungal spores that cause ringworm, especially if you are guilty of letting your pets onto the bed. And since you sweat during the night, your pillows can grow mould spores if you don’t air them out properly – this is not only a risk for yeast infections, but respiratory problems as well.

What you can do: Change your pillowcases often, wash them on the warmest setting possible and let them air out properly. It’s also important to let your pillows air out. Practice good hygiene before going to bed – greasy hair and a face partially full of makeup will only transfer dead skin and debris onto your pillowcases, causing bacteria to flourish.

woman sleeping on white pillow 

4. The washing machine

This might sound counterproductive – how can a machine you use to wash your clothes harbour bacteria? But washing machines simply launder clothes and do nothing to sterilise them. According to an extensive study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, bacteria and organisms that can potentially cause yeast infections enter the washing machine through clothes, bed linen and towels.

Especially bed linen and towels, which harbour the most bacteria, don’t always get washed on a very high setting, because of energy conservation. This means that the laundry is cleaned to remove visible dirt and odours, but not necessarily sanitised. The surviving bacteria may build up inside the washing machine and remain on your "clean" laundry, and may be transferred onto your skin.

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