The Toilet Lid


When flushing, does it make a difference if the toilet lid is closed or not? Apparently it makes a huge difference after all, the lid is there for a reason. 


The biggest concern is bacteria. When you flush the toilet a mist is created and this mist is filled with bacteria. This mist can float for hours and travel several feet from the toilet bowl. 

Thinking of the confined space that is a bathroom, the mist reaches toothbrushes, towels, shower curtains, and any other surface in the bathroom.  

An episode of Myth Busters showed that a toilet flushed with the lid up splashed water on to surrounding bathroom surfaces, including toothbrushes. The toothbrushes taken from the bathroom were examined and contained specks of fecal matter. 

Professor Wilcox from Leeds University conducted a study to see how using a toilet lid could affect the spread of disease in hospitals. They used stool samples collected from patients infected with the hospital superbug C difficile

The study found that the suberbug was transported up to 10 inches above the toilet seat when it was open and was still detected in the air up to 90 minutes later when the lid was left open. Although the study notes that some of the virus did slip though the lid when it was closed, there were far lower concentrations lingering in the air. 

When the lid was closed no C difficult was found on any surface however when it was open it was found on the cistern, to the right and left of the toilet seat, and on the floor. 

This leads me to wonder, why do the residence halls not have toilet lids? 



This is both interesting and disgusting! It made me wonder though, so I looked up other ideas on toilet sanitation and I found this amusing version of a sanitary toilet seat that is made so that after each use, the toilet seat cover is disposed of automatically. But not all versions have a lid...

Here is a YouTube video of this working.

As I was reading your blog, I had the same thought that you asked at the end, why do residence halls not have lids, is it really too much money to add a little more plastic? After thinking about it a little more, I think that most of the public restrooms on campus do not have lids. I would be curious to find out if our University knew about this idea, if it would make them change how the toilets are on campus. I find it very disgusting that there is a bacteria mist that could possibly make its way all the way to toothbrushes, towels, etc. These are all things that touch our bodies and go inside our mouths! I wonder how many people on our campus have been affected by this problem. It might be weird to think about, but it would be interesting to see if the thickness of the toilet lid causes less of the bacteria mist to get through, compared to one that is not as thick.

I am not a fan of putting the lid down but you have me convinced! The idea of bacteria from the toilet on my toothbrush freaks me out! This reminds me of the class where Andrew talked about using paper towels or heated hand dryer to dry your hands after using the bathroom. I am beginning to think I can just never touch anything in the bathroom without a shower after.

Hey,you strikes me in the middle!My roommate never flushes his pee,nasty pssh...After reading your article,I found out that even a trivial detail in our life matters so much to our health.In regards to the absense of stool lids in our residence hall,I don't see that much necessity to install them.Your discovery definitely convinced me with the ftunction of lids,but people simply don't care.Not mentioning they will close lids when flushing,many of them even don't flush at all.No offense to anyone,but I think not flushing toilet not only tarnishes personal conscience,but affecting the public health.Educate those diehard non-flushers before buying those plastic boards,otherwise it's a waste of money.

So the bacteria flies through the area and then what? Above Stephanie said, "The idea of bacteria from the toilet on my toothbrush freaks me out!" and it rightfully should because it is there. While many people question the show Myth Busters, a while ago they did a test on tooth brushes that was very conclusive. They tested toothbrushes in a bathroom at different distances from the toilet and found fecal matter on all of them... You can see details and the result of their test along with other interesting experiments HERE.

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