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Home » New Study: Does Closing the Toilet Lid Really Prevent Germs?

New Study: Does Closing the Toilet Lid Really Prevent Germs?

Just like the debate about the direction of the toilet paper roll, there is ongoing discussion about whether the toilet lid should be open or closed when flushing. Scientists have delved into this topic, and the results might surprise you.

The Great Toilet Lid Debate

We’ve often heard advice to close the toilet lid before flushing to prevent the spread of germs throughout the bathroom. But is this really effective?

Microbiologist Charles Gerba and his team at the University of Arizona have found that it makes little difference whether the toilet lid is up or down when flushing. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control reveals that microscopic viral particles spread to the floor and nearby surfaces regardless.

«A lot of people said all you have to do is close the lid and the problem is solved,» said Gerba, who has studied toilet germs for nearly half a century, to USA Today.

«All that air when you flush goes somewhere, and it carries the viruses that are in the toilet bowl out of it.»

No Protection with a Closed Lid

Earlier studies suggested that closing the lid could reduce the spread of bacteria. However, Gerba’s team discovered that this does not apply to smaller viral particles in residential settings. The study highlights that the only effective way to reduce the spread of viruses is by regularly disinfecting the toilet and nearby surfaces.

toilet
Clean your toilet to prevent germs. Photo. Canva

Methodology of the Study

Researchers examined toilets in both public and private environments. They introduced viral particles into the toilets, flushed, and then measured contamination one minute later. The results showed no significant difference in contamination levels whether the lid was open or closed, although a closed lid altered the contamination trajectory.

The Importance of Cleaning

The study concluded that toilet bowls cleaned with a disinfectant had less contamination than those cleaned with just a brush. This also reduced contamination on surrounding surfaces like floors and toilet brush holders.

To minimize the spread of germs, it is recommended to disinfect the toilet seat and other touch surfaces regularly, especially if someone in the household is ill. Regular hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer are also crucial for maintaining good hygiene.

Gerba advises keeping disinfectant near the toilet and cleaning the handle after each use. If someone in the household has diarrhea, the toilet should be disinfected twice daily. While users have less control over public restrooms, thorough hand washing and using hand sanitizer can help protect against germs.

Additional Tips for Reducing Germ Spread

To further reduce the spread of bacteria at home, it is wise to remove toothbrushes and cosmetics from the bathroom during toilet use. Avoiding the use of phones while on the toilet can also prevent contamination.

Maintaining a clean and hygienic bathroom environment is essential, regardless of whether you flush with the lid open or closed.

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