To sit or not to sit — this is the question. The love for your own body means taking care of your health, and when life puts you in a situation where there are only 2 options — humiliation or a public toilet, of course, we choose the lesser evil. We decided to find out more about this delicate problem and see if public toilets are as dangerous as we think.
Bright Side has put together some rules that will help you visit public toilets safely. And at the end of the article, there is a bonus — the answer to one of the juiciest questions regarding public toilets.
Rule #1. The most dangerous places are the ones that seem the safest.
Nobody knows for sure how much bacteria there is under the toilet seat or on its lid. The BioCote company decided to find out more about all the surfaces in one public toilet and collected samples after one working day in their office. It turned out that more than 50,000 different microorganisms are constantly near us. It might be unexpected but the most contaminated place in the toilet was the sink. It’s because that’s where the biggest number of germs are, and sinks are not cleaned as thoroughly as toilets. Later, scientists from Arizona came to the same conclusion: only 19% of all bacteria in bathrooms can be found on the toilet while the rest can be found in the bathtubs and sinks. Also, there are entire colonies of bacteria on floors, walls, door knobs, and the flush buttons.
Rule #2. Pay attention to the details.
When you are visiting a public toilet, pay attention to some things before you use it. In the right toilet, there should be soap, toilet paper, and the cleaning schedule on the wall. Check the schedule itself: the date should be today, and the time intervals should be no more than a few hours apart.
Rule #3. Choose the right stall.
It is surprising but, according to scientists, even when there are just 2 booths in a restroom, people are more likely to choose the second one. So, when you enter a public restroom, go to the first booth. Fewer people have been there so it will be cleaner.
Rule #4. Adapt to the location.
If you need to put down your bag or your things, pick the safest place — outside the toilet. But if you have no choice and nobody to hold your bag, don’t put your things on the floor. The safest place is the toilet tank.
Rule #5. Sit correctly.
Humanity didn’t have actual toilets for a very long time throughout history. And only recently did people design the toilets that we know and use today. However, the position that we take when sitting on such a toilet is not natural. The 90° position (on the left) causes tension and strain and can lead to constipation and hemorrhoids. And the 35° position (on the right) is natural where everything can take its natural course. So, because in public toilets we usually have to rush, it’s better to sit in the 35° position to avoid any injuries. However, you should remember that not all public toilets allow visitors to stand on seats. So, if you are in such a toilet, just don’t touch the seat to avoid the bacteria.
Rule #6. Don’t put toilet paper on the seat.
Many people put toilet paper on the seat when using a public toilet. No matter how good this decision might seem, it’s actually one of the worst. Firstly, toilet seats are constructed in a very smart way. Their shape and their smooth surface don’t let bacteria spread. And secondly, many people often forget to close the toilet door after using it, they flush, and the bacteria get spread all over the toilet including the paper toilet roll. Paper absorbs moisture very well and it’s a great environment for bacteria to multiply. So, unless you come with your own toilet paper, don’t put it on the toilet seat.
Rule #7. Exit gracefully.
When you are done, you need to leave the room correctly. Close the toilet lid right after you stand up and flush the water only after you close the lid.
Rule #8. Wash your hands very well.
Wash your hands very well because there are a lot of harmful microorganisms on them. Remember: we touch our faces from 2 to 5 times a minute which means that we can easily put unwanted guests very close to our mouths. And this is when bacteria can attack. So, every time you visit a public toilet, you should always wash your hands with soap for at least one minute and try not to touch your face before you wash all of the unwanted bacteria off. After you finish washing your hands, you should leave the restroom without touching any surfaces, and that includes door knobs!
Even though there are a lot of rumors, it’s almost impossible to get an STD from a toilet. So, even the most stubborn people can be relaxed about this.