Part 2: Best not to share these items with others

Towels can be breeding grounds for germs.

There may be times when we need to borrow certain items from other people. Take note however that not everything is suitable for sharing.

Below are five things that should not be borrowed from or shared with others.


Towels can be an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other germs; especially when they are hanging in a wet bathroom. Towels can transmit infections to the skin, acne, and even conjunctivitis.

They can also cause methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to spread. These are bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body.

It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus because it’s resistant to most commonly used antibiotics. Sometimes, sharing towels can also increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

It is recommended not to borrow towels from other people. It is best to wash towels regularly and let them dry completely before using.


Do not share earrings with other people, and similarly, do not borrow them from others as well.

Sharing earrings can increase the risk of infection and blood-borne diseases. Keep earrings clean by washing them carefully with rubbing alcohol before and after each use.

Store them in a dry and clean place.


Often we want to listen to music but forget to bring along our earphones. In this situation, we tend to borrow earphones from friends.

This is not a wise decision since it can lead to ear infection. Studies have shown that earphones can generate bacteria from our ears.

Our ears can become moist and warm especially during exercise. This can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

If there is no choice but to share earphones, rub them thoroughly with alcohol-soaked cotton balls. Note that the risk of infection still remains.

Bar soap

Bar soap is used to clean the skin. After each use, the bar soap gets covered in germs from the skin.

These germs can be very unhealthy. When placed on a wet soap dish after use, bacteria, fungi and other germs tend to multiply faster.

As with sharing towels, bar soap can also transmit methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), causing serious infection. In this case liquid soap is preferred over bar soap because it limits sharing.


Armpits are ideal places for bacteria and fungi to thrive and develop. Bacteria from the underarm area can stick to the deodorant.

Everyone should have their own deodorant. Do not borrow from other people and certainly do not lend deodorant to other people.

Prescription medicine

A prescription is provided to a specific person for specific purposes and based on specific conditions. The prescription is made out exclusively for that particular person.

Prescription medicines therefore should not be shared, even though two people may have the same health condition. This can cause drug-resistance, overdose, or other drug-related problems.

These third party prescriptions can possibly do more harm than treat illness in this case.

This article first appeared in and was medically reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.