Public toilets can get disgusting very quickly. You’ve all been there before, needing to go to the restroom but then opening the toilet door to find something quite repulsive in there. Then you find yourself having to weigh up whether you really need to go that badly after all! Who knows who else has sat down on that toilet before you, so what to do?
The answer seems obvious: A little bit of toilet paper on the seat and then at least there’s a barrier between your body and the germs. It’s much better to not come in contact with anything that has splashed up from prior toilet users, right?
Truth be told, this is not the best approach at all. Actually, you should never lay toilet paper down on the seat because the toilet seats in themselves are really cleverly designed. For a long time, people thought the seats were covered in germs and nasties and people could pick up all kinds of horrible gastrointestinal infections or even worse things from them. But given their special shape and their particularly smooth surfaces, toilet seats actually prevent bacteria from settling on them. In addition, germs cannot multiply on bare skin, so mere contact with the toilet seat is not so bad after all. Toilet paper, on the other hand, is a completely different story.
t’s common knowledge that (almost) no one puts the toilet lid down after using and flushing the toilet. As a result, all those germs spread around the room and also on the toilet paper. And contrary to the toilet seat, toilet paper is an ideal place for germs to gather. Its surface makes it easy for bacteria to settle on. It is precisely this germ-infested toilet paper that you would reach out to grab with your hands and then, unconsciously, you would touch your face, allowing the bacteria the easiest passageway into your body.
The same thing applies to the taps and hand dryers. People use the taps straight after doing their business, making the tap a real germ magnet. And the tap gets touched again after people are finished washing their hands. The same goes for electric hand dryers. In fact, a recent study showed that electric hand dryers spread bacteria to a large extent.
As a first point, the electric hand dryers stir up the air in the room and thereby launch the microbes and viral particles into the air and all over the room. Secondly, after washing hands, there are often residual germs, which instead of being removed by the hand driers, actually get spread all the more. In general, the greater the airflow, the greater the germ problem. The best alternative is paper towels. They get rid of significantly more germs, as a fact.
So there you go, from now on you might look upon toilet paper more critically than the toilet seat itself. And the next time you use a public toilet, just remember, a blank seat is always the better option. It’s hard, but sometimes our imagination of all the filth and disgust is actually more vivid than the actual risk.