New Research on Whether to Flush With the Toilet Lid Up or Down

Are you familiar with the longstanding belief that flushing your toilet with the toilet seat down prevents the spread of fecal bacteria through your bathroom? Well, new research suggests that it’s not that simple. Flushing with the seat down may prevent some pathogens from spreading, but not all of them. Relying on this method without regularly disinfecting your bathroom space can seriously affect your health and hygiene. The rules are changing, and incorporating proper and regular disinfection into your bathroom routine is essential regardless of how you flush the toilet.

When You Flush

It is a well-known fact that when you flush the toilet with the lid up, it creates a plume of particles spraying out of the toilet onto the surfaces of your bathroom. As you can imagine, these particles contain all sorts of fecal matter, urine, bacteria, and viruses. They can settle all over your bathroom, including on the toilet paper you’ll use to wipe later and even on the toothbrush you’ll use to clean your teeth. Aside from being gross, this practice can help spread dangerous pathogens like e.coli, norovirus, and other illnesses. Learning about this plume phenomenon has inspired many people to get into the habit of closing the toilet seat before every flush. But does it help?

Why Closing The Lid Isn’t Enough

While closing the lid before flushing can reduce the amount and spread of pathogens by containing the plume, recent studies show that it doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely. Some particles can escape even when the lid is closed. This is the case for most viral particles since they are smaller than bacterial particles and can get through the smallest of cracks.

Additionally, many particles can escape while you’re using the toilet and even after you open the lid post-flush. Closing the lid during flushing is not a foolproof method of keeping your bathroom clean.

Please keep in mind that this isn’t an argument against closing the lid – you should still do that. Instead, this is an argument for additional cleaning and disinfecting steps that you should be doing to keep yourself and your family safe.

How To Clean Your Bathroom

Recent research found that adding disinfectant to your toilet bowl before closing the lid and flushing can actually prevent the majority of the contamination. Consider using one of those disinfecting toilet tablets that dispense a cleaning solution into your toilet tank.

Additionally, make sure to disinfect frequently touched surfaces 2-3 times per week using a disinfectant spray. It’s always best to use EPA-registered disinfectants that are certified to kill 99% of viruses and bacteria.

It’s just as important to wash towels, mats, and shower curtains as they can harbor dangerous bacteria. Aim to launder them once a week using hot water and a strong detergent.

While closing the toilet lid every time you flush is still a good practice to follow, it is not a good enough standalone solution for keeping your bathrooms clean. Make sure to stick to a regular cleaning routine that involves the use of disinfectants, and consider adding a disinfectant to the toilet tank itself.