People have always been a little worried when entering a public toilet. Making sure not to touch anything unless they absolutely have to, ensuring that garments are not rubbing up against the walls of the stall, and laying toilet paper down on the seat. It’s as if entering a public washroom immediately alters the person’s chemistry into that of a germaphobe.
But is laying toilet paper down on the seat really the most efficient and effective way of preventing germs from spreading?
Read on to find out how we may have been misled this whole time!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, many of us tend to lay down some toilet paper (or a lot…) before sitting down on a public toilet seat.
For quite some time, people were concerned that the seats were covered in germs and that by sitting on the seat with their bare skin that they could then contract the germs.
There are some people who are so concerned with the cleanliness of public toilets that they would never even consider using one!
But in reality, toilet seats are designed in such a way that they prevent bacteria from settling on the surface!
The smooth surface, along with its unique shape, prevents bacteria from growing and spreading. Furthermore, laying toilet paper down can actually do more harm than good!
Since the lid on the toilet is rarely ever placed to cover the toilet (some public washrooms don’t even have a lid over their toilets) germs can spread around the stall and the washroom itself. This includes the toilet paper roll in the stall.
This is why dentists and doctors advise not to leave your toothbrush out in the open in the bathroom as germs and bacteria can still travel through the air.
That’s why it is always important to wash your hands, with soap, after leaving a washroom.
Rinse your hands to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ to ensure that you have washed your hands long enough.
But on the other hand, toilet paper, however, contains a surface that is suitable if not ideal for bacteria and germs to settle and spread.
When touching this toilet paper (that is open to the germs and bacteria in the stall/washroom) you are not only getting these germs but then spreading them by touching your face, not washing your hands or sitting on them!
The same thing goes with hand dryers, water taps, toilet handle (flusher) and the handle that dispenses paper towels.
Maybe the dirtiest of all, the water tap is especially germ-centric since people touch it immediately after doing their business and then once again after their hand is supposedly ‘clean.’
Things get compounded when you touch the handle that dispenses paper towels to dry your hands or the hand blower itself.
It has been shown that hand dryers not only contain bacteria on the surface but also a tendency to spread germs throughout the area. And since there is usually more than one hand dryer in a washroom, it has a higher propensity to spread germs.
In general, the greater the amount of air flow the higher the probability of the spread of germs.
Since electric hand dryers blow out air, they stir the air that is up in the room and launch all viral particles, microbes and bacteria (just to name a few) up into the air all over the room.
Then, hand dryers tend to spread the germs on your hand more effectively than actually drying and cleaning them.
It is recommended that paper towels be used instead since they remove a much higher percentage of these germs.
Moreover, germs cannot multiply on bare skin so some skin contact with the toilet seat is actually not harmful. So in conclusion, wash your hands, stay away from toilet paper if there is no barrier covering/protecting it, and don’t use hand dryers!