Disgusting Reasons Why You Really Do Need to Close the Toilet Seat

The average individual flushes the toilet five or more times per day; however, it seems that most of us are doing it wrong. 

One of the most common mistakes is not closing the lid when we’re done using the toilet. Closing the toilet is necessary because when we pull the lever, we don’t just make the waste go away, but the toilet also releases the so-called toilet plume into the air.

Basically, this is a spray full of microscopic bacteria, including E. coli. 

Research from 1975 found that the germs in this spray may remain in the air for up to six hours and spread throughout the bathroom, including on your beauty products, towels, and toothbrushes.

Yikes, right?!

The Disgusting Reasons Why You Should Always Close the Toilet Seat

In addition to the spray full of germs, there are other disgusting reasons why you should avoid leaving the toilet seat open. 

Contaminated toilets produce large droplets and droplet nuclei bioaerosols. According to research, the plume may contribute to the spread of infectious illnesses for which the pathogens are in the vomit or feces, according to a 2015 update to the study from 1975 published in the American Journal of Infection Control

Nowadays, the technology of toilets reduces the toilet plum going up into the air; however, it’s still something we need to be aware of. 

The bigger droplets and the aerosol don’t travel too far above or around the toilet, but the smaller ones may linger in the air for a while, according to microbiologist Janet Hill. 

Hill explains that due to the fact that the water in the toilet bowl has bacteria and numerous other microbes from urine, feces, and even vomit, there will be some in the droplets. 

Each gram of human feces has billions and billions of bacteria, as well as fungi and viruses. 

Therefore, to prevent this nastiness in your bathroom, you should always close the toilet bowl after you’re done using it. This will decrease the spread of droplets. 

If you find yourself in a public bathroom without a toilet seat, stay as clean as possible by not leaning over the bowl when you flush and wash your hands right after.

The Risk of Disease from Open Toilet Bowls Remains Low

Although this news is really gross and disturbing, there’s a good side to this story, i.e., not putting your toilet seat down won’t likely cause a disease.

This is because the risk of catching an infection from toilet aerosols is very low. Most microbes in human feces and urine are harmless and may actually be beneficial. 

Let’s say you used the toilet after someone with an infection like diarrhea, salmonella, or a campylobacter infection. 

The water in the toilet probably has a tiny amount of these organisms. However, in order for you to get infected, you would need to ingest alive bacteria in a sufficient amount to actually get infected.

What’s more, bacteria don’t survive long-term in the toilet bowl or elsewhere in the toilet so getting it on the skin or clothes isn’t a guarantee for ingestion. The germs linked with intestinal infections like vomiting and diarrhea don’t transmit through the respiratory tract so breathing them in isn’t a huge problem.

All of these factors taken together mean that the health risks from aerosolized toilet water are quite low.  This is why some scientists don’t even consider the closing of the lid of the toilet bowl to be totally necessary. 

The flushed material goes into the sewer system and leaves little risk of aerosolization. What matters is to keep the bowl clean and always wash hands after flushing. So, if you forget to close the lid sometimes, don’t fret, it’s probably not a big deal!