If you were to think of a place that is clean and comfortable, a public restroom toilet is not likely to be your first choice. The public, porcelain thrown has been feared by woman for years, being hovered over or covered with heaps of toilet paper to create a barrier between their bare bottom's and the "germy", "disease spreading" surface. However, it may be cleaner than rooms or articles from your very own house.
"It may be surprising but in a typical home, their cutting board has around 200 times more fecal matter on it than the average toilet seat," Asap Science said in their YouTube video, “Should You Hover Or Cover The Toilet Seat?” This may also come to a surprise but even the dish sponge that supposedly washes all your dishes and cutlery clean, has 200,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!
But will you get an STD or skin disease from using the toilet the correct way? Dr. Anthony Komaroff of Harvard Medical School seems to think it is highly unlikely.
"It’s not completely irrational to worry about dirty public toilet seats. Any contaminated surface can spread infectious disease. However, the real risk of catching a disease from a clean toilet seat is almost nonexistent."
Kelly Reynolds, the director of The Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, also agrees that it is hard be effected by any germ left behind on the toilet seat. She said, “There are very few germs that can actually be transmitted from the seat to your skin." The toilet paper roll is said to have even more germs on it than the toilet seat. Ladies, have you ever placed your handbag on the floor while you are using the loo? The one that has been on your desk, on the floor of any public transport and then thrown onto your bed when you get home? I don't think I need to further explain this point.
Although, there may be limited diseases upon the toilet seat itself, we cannot rule out the various other surfaces in the bathroom. Many of those of which we touch with our hands. The flush handle, bathroom doorknob and the water faucet are usually contaminated with many risky germs. Reynolds also states that, "the germs you should be worried about are the ones passed along the fecal-oral route, meaning they have to get to your mouth. There’s very few things you can get as a skin infection [from sitting on a public toilet].” Maybe we will think twice next time before we grab the bathroom doorknob and then proceed to hold that snack time apple!
So, it seems to all come down to making sure we wash our hands. A 30 second rinse or a breeze through the "Happy Birthday" song (twice) will ensure most of the germ spreading bacteria to begone from your paws. And let's be honest, hand washing sounds like a much better germ prevention than splattering pee all over the seat when trying to hover. So ladies, next time, maybe try actually resting in the restroom, not hovering.
The next time you go to question the toilet seat, think of all the other germ carrying objects you use in a day (that irreplaceable i phone) that are carrying thousands of germs more than the seat itself (I don't see you putting down that phone..). Sit down this time, no hovering, no toilet paper seat. (If this still is not possible maybe you should consider getting a portable urinal.
If this article made you even more of a germaphobe, here are some precautionary measures you can take to a cleaner you in a public restroom environment.