Each day millions of us put ourselves at risk for serious infection through a simple action.
It is so common we don’t think twice about it. But after you read this, you will never do it again.
We all know that our homes harbor germs in the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom—just about every room in the house. But usually we recognize this fact, and take actions to lessen our risk. We scrub, disinfect, vacuum, wash our hands, and maybe even take our shoes off before entering the house.
But there is one act that we do without thinking in our bathroom. Almost everybody is guilty at one time or another.
It’s all about how you flush your toilet. You’ve probably been doing it wrong this whole time…
The simple act of flushing the toilet with the lid up causes polluted water to vaporize. It erupts unseen out of the bowl. The vapor disperses and settles over nearby surfaces. It covers them in potentially disease-causing germs.
Researchers from Leeds Teaching Hospital in Britain found that after lid-up flushes, an average of 15 to 47 contaminated toilet water droplets landed in the nearby environment.1,2,3
One microbiologist pointed out, “If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet, you are brushing your teeth with what’s in your toilet.”4
There are a myriad of germs in human waste. But doctors are particularly worried about one. It’s called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. This bacteria can cause anything from annoying diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
It is often found in people who are taking antibiotics. Antibiotics lessen the body’s ability to keep C. diff in check.5,6
Researchers say you should ALWAYS close the toilet lid before flushing. Scientists found no dispersed fecal bacteria after lid-down flushes.7
What if the toilet does not have a lid, as in a public restroom? Doctors’ best advice is to flush and then move quickly out of the stall area before vapor can settle.
Here are other tips to keep your bathroom as free of germs as possible:8
- Germs can grow in a showerhead that has been idle for more than a couple days. Flush a longtime idle shower head with hot water for two minutes before showering.
- Switch from ceramic or plastic cups to disposable paper cups. Permanent cups can become loaded with bacteria and viruses.
- Use color coded towels. Or mark them. This keeps one person’s germs away from another’s.
- Use a bleach product to wipe down toilet handles, seats, lids, faucets, cupboard handles, doorknobs, shower door handles, and any other surface you touch with your hands.
And of course, wash your hands after using the bathroom.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch