Top 10 bathroom ‘icks’ – such as toenail clippings, and hair in the roll-on deodorant

Four in 10 adults admit they have felt uncomfortable in the bathroom at someone else’s house, after encountering an ick, the research revealed.

Hairy roll-ons, flying toenails, and dried-on toothpaste have topped a poll of Britain’s top bathroom “icks”, according to research. The study, of 2,000 adults, also found they dislike the slimy gunk that lurks inside a toothbrush holder.

An “ick” is a modern slang term for something that gives you a sudden feeling of disgust or repulsion. And gunk in the soap dish, and dental floss in the sink, were also identified in the study by sustainable personal care brand, Life Supplies.

To shine a light on these everyday icks, a new “Ick-xhibition” photography show is now open until January 20 in Hackney, where visitors can view a series of toe-curling scenes.

Shot by photographer Angèle Châtenet, the 12-canvas gallery unveils a series of unsightly bathroom scenes – from the universally icky dried toothpaste in the sink, to the overflowing bathroom waste bin, and the sticky soap gunk on the bottle of shower gel.

James Mishreki, founder of Life Supplies, said: “The Ick-xhibition is elevating the daily grimaces we have all faced first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.

“It’s a visceral, and in some scenes, oddly horrifying, display of the tiny things in life that can actually make us feel a bit rotten.”

The poll also found 42 percent admitted to feeling discomfort in a friend or family member’s bathroom if they encountered an ick.

Women felt more strongly that specific bathroom icks would be a turnoff if they saw them in a love interest’s bathroom – with flying finger and toenail clippings (51 percent), and armpit hairs on deodorant rollers (50 percent), their top bathroom turnoffs.

Further research also revealed a significant shift in attitudes towards bathroom products, revealing a clear push towards sustainability.

Nearly half (45 percent) are dissatisfied with non-recyclable products, highlighting excessive plastic in bathroom product packaging as a primary concern.

And 44 percent expect recyclability in bathroom products – but 20 percent still encounter challenges in finding recyclable alternatives.

As a result, more than three-quarters (76 percent) think bathroom products need to be designed more sustainably, with 52 percent attributing excessive waste to current packaging styles.

The classic toothpaste tube emerged as the top bathroom essential in need of a design upgrade (47 percent) – followed by pump action soap (31 percent), toilet brushes (31 percent), roll-on deodorant (25 percent), and bottles of moisturiser (21 percent).

James Mishreki, for the free “Life Supplies: The Ick-xibition”, taking place at Spazio Leone, Hackney Downs Studios, added: “This poll paints a promising picture for the future of bathroom product sustainability, with 57 percent saying they have either taken steps or would like to become more sustainable and eco-conscious in 2024.

“It’s a shame that 44 percent say they feel guilty for having plastic bathroom products in their homes – it is a calling card to the industry to make changes.

“We have had a visceral response to the collection, which shows that poor product design can send a shiver down our spine, as well as cost us more money.”


  • Armpit hairs stuck on a deodorant rollerball
  • Dried toothpaste crusted in the sink
  • The inside of a toothbrush holder
  • Soap gunk in the soap dish
  • A full bathroom waste bin
  • Flying fingernails and toenails while clipping
  • Crusty, congealed, or dried toothpaste around the cap
  • Congealed “soap snot” on the dispenser
  • Dental floss stuck to the sink
  • Manky shampoo pumps
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