How to use a public toilet and not get sick!

Public Toilet

Questionable smells, dark tiled walls and sandpaper for toilet paper.

Welcome to the public toilet.

Public toilets at the best of times are not the nicest of places to visit as you get caught out walking through town. They are normally cleaned on a regular basis but from the look and smell of some public toilets, you would think they never had seen a bottle of bleach.

The thought of how many people have sat on the same toilet seat, and how many people forget to wash their hands as they grab the door handle to leave. It is something that makes most of us shudder just at the thought. The real question is what is the right way to use the good old public toilet without getting sick or picking up bacteria.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing now has never been a better time to think about personal hygiene and how sanitised a surface could be. As scientists have found out the coronavirus, as with many viruses, can live on surfaces from hours to days to weeks.

Before we go on we would like to say that the chances of you catching a disease or illness from a public toilet is unlikely. However, the following points are there to make you think about your hygiene the next time you enter a public toilet or any toilet for that matter.

What cubicle will you choose?

In 2017 a study by The New York Times found that Men, tend to opt for whatever’s closest to the door, while women gravitate to those farther from it. Meaning the one nearest the door is likely to be the cleanest if you’re a female, and vice versa if you’re male. The middle cubicle is best to avoid altogether if you’re picky.

A bit of common sense will tell you if a toilet looks clean or not so go for that one if in doubt.


Toilet Seat Cleanliness

Most toilet seats are clean with usually fewer than 1,000 bacteria per square inch. However, you’re still not going to be eating your dinner from there anytime soon.

Bacteria found on a toilet seat won’t do you any harm as long as you do not touch the seat with your hands and then forget to wash your hands. Try not to touch the seat and when you are out and bout in public try not to touch you eyes, nose or mouth. These features on your face can be a gateway for bacteria to enter the body.

If you’re grossed out by toilet seats you could always carry a handy pack of antibacterial wipes. Simply wipe the seat with the wipe and throw it in the bin. Whatever you do do not throw any kind of wipe down the toilet, as wipes cause blockages within the sewerage systems throughout the country.

Closing the lid on bacteria and viruses

When using any toilet you should always be conscious about toilet plumes. Toilet plumes are tiny particles that can fly out of the toilet and land up to 15ft away from where they came. These tiny particles can contain bacteria and viruses.

When using a public toilet you do not know who used the toilet before you and what bacteria or viruses they may have. Once you have done what you have to do on the toilet make sure you close the lid before you flush it. By closing the lid you are not only protecting yourself from whatever may be lurking down the loo, but you are protecting the next person who uses the toilet after you.

Toilet Plumes Virus

Wash your hands you filthy animal

Did you know, only 4 out of 5 people wash their hands after using the washroom. Did you also know that in 2011 a study, found faecal bacteria on flush handles as well as skin-related bacteria on virtually everything in the washroom? Pretty gross when you think about it especially if you do not wash your hands.

Many people still do not know how to wash their hand properly. The following instructions on how to wash your hands with soap and water is widely known throughout the globe as it covers all areas of the hand. Follow these and you can rest easy knowing your hands are hygienically clean.

1.      Wet your hands with water.

2.      Apply enough soap to cover your hands.

3.      Rub hands together.

4.      Use 1 hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand.

5.      Rub your hands together and clean in between your fingers.

6.      Rub the back of your fingers against your palms.

7.      Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb.

8.      Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with the other hand.

9.      Rinse your hands with water.

10.  Dry your hands completely with a hand dryer or paper towel and dispose of.

11.  Use the disposable towel or your elbow to turn off the tap.

Don’t worry!

Finally, do not panic or worry about using public toilets. Yes, they smell and yes they aren’t appealing and yes they do harbour bacteria and viruses. But so do many other places including schools, homes, and supermarkets etc the list is endless.

Bacteria and viruses are just a part of our lives. However, following certain guidelines around hygiene will help reduce your chances of picking anything up when using a public toilet, or any toilet for that matter.