Putting Toilet Paper on Public Toilet Seats Actually Exposes You to More Germs

Are you ready for a sobering discussion about public restrooms? Look, we are not trying to scare you (or gross you out), but there seems to be a lot of misleading information out there about how to approach using a public restroom in the first place. One of the major misconceptions is that it is healthier to line the toilet seat with toilet paper, but this is just simply not the case. After reading this, you may want to start bringing your own toilet paper with you!

The thing to know here is that toilet seats are made from materials that prevent bacteria from spreading in the first place. Dr. William Schaffer, M.D. who is a professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told the Huffington Post, “That’s because toilet seats are not a vehicle for the transmission of any infectious agents — you won’t catch anything.”

So, where are all of the germs in the bathroom if they aren’t on the seat? Now, get ready to take a deep breath— the germs are in the toilet paper. Think about it, no one (we hope) is touching the toilet seat with their bare hands, but almost everyone is touching the toilet paper.

In addition to the handling, the toilet paper material is meant to be absorbent. In fact, we look for this when we purchase it, but this absorbency also attracts germs that come out of the toilet and become airborne when you flush. Now, let me ask you— when was the last time you went into a public bathroom, ripped off a couple squares of toilet paper, and blew your nose. I know, I’m sorry. I won’t bring that up again.

Another point to bring while we’re still on the topic of public restrooms: It’s a scary reality, but a lot of people out there do not even know how to wash their hands properly or thoroughly. The way to do this, by the way, is to wet your hands with water and lather them with soap for 20 full seconds before you apply water again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using soap and water on your hands after using the bathroom could lower diarrheal disease-related deaths as much as 50 percent.

There’s also been much debate over the years regarding the virtues of electric hand dryers. Though this option is far more eco-friendly than the paper towel alternative, it is also one of the things that could be spreading germs in a bathroom. Hot air simply blows particles around a room—this is something that you never want to do when the room is full of potentially deadly germs.

There are many lethal forms of bacteria that live in bathrooms. According to everyone’s favorite online physicians over at WebMD, you can expect to find various gastrointestinal viruses which are potentially deadly stomach viruses and enteric pathogens which are usually found in feces and can contaminate food.

At this point I’m sure that you are swearing off public restrooms altogether, but that’s not necessarily a reality that most can adhere to. All you need to do is take the proper steps to avoid bacteria. Stay away from unnecessary toilet paper use, and wash those hands. Your health will thank you for it!

Is this news to you or have you been going paperless for a while? Are you a bathroom germaphobe? Do you avoid public restrooms at all costs? Tell us all about your views and stories in the comments section below!