Most people who use toilet seats are guilty of using tissue papers and seat liners in a bid to avoid contracting bacteria. This may seem like the wisest thing to do, but does it really prevent bacteria?
Public restrooms can be very inconveniencing and disgusting, especially when it is not decently kept. No one wants to sit on a toilet seat with the knowledge that so many strangers, whose hygiene can be questioned, have had contact with it.
Covering the toilet seat may look hygienic but experts say toilet papers and seat liners actually make the seat dirtier than sitting directly on the seat itself.
Weird but true, toilet seats are designed to stay clean. The shape and the material used to make these seats have the ability to kill germs, therefore, bacteria cannot survive on a toilet seat, so covering it is a waste of tissue papers.
Also, the soft materials used in making tissues is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Therefore, by sitting on them instead of the seat, you’re actually sitting on more bacteria. In other words, toilet seats are not as dangerous as we think they are, as scientists say a dish sponge can hold up to 200,000 times more bacteria than a public toilet seat.
According to William DePaolo, an assistant professor of immunology and microbiology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), sitting on a toilet isn’t going to cause an infection. A lot of those bacteria present on the surface of the toilet or other parts of the bathroom are not so easily transmitted by skin.
This is because bacteria can only survive in a porous moist place, and a toilet seat isn’t porous. The best way to avoid bacteria in a toilet is to wash your hands properly after using the bowl and then dry off using an automatic dryer. Manual dryers with buttons are not advisable because people touch the “on” button with wet, germy hands, making it unhealthy.
Just to put things in perspective, there are far dirtier unsuspicious places out there to worry about. For instance, cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats, says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona. Other places you should be cautious about, that bacteria breed on, include wet clothes, dirty underwear, public tables, ATM machines, etc.