Why People Should Stop Putting Toilet Paper On Public Toilet Seats Immediately

Why People Should Stop Putting Toilet Paper On Public Toilet Seats Immediately

Public bathrooms are like good insurance policies: we’re happy to know they’re there, but we cross our fingers that we’ll never have to use them. It’s simply impossible to enter a communal restroom without thinking of the thousands of people who’ve been there before you… and the germs they’ve left behind in their wake.

It’s not fun to think about, but for the sake of your own health, it’s important. That’s why so many of us are trained to do certain things to stay safe in public bathrooms.

Most of us think that we take precautions to keep ourselves safe in the bathroom, but in reality we’re encouraging habits that could be increasing our contact with germs! Here’s how to avoid it…

One of the most infected things in a bathroom is the one object you actually need to touch: the toilet paper. This is the source of one of the most common germ-related mistakes people make when they use the restroom.


People think that by covering the toilet seat completely in toilet paper, they’re fully protecting themselves from the various germs that most certainly live on the seat. In reality, they’re doing something worse.



As it turns out, toilet paper itself is a hotbed for bacteria, while the seats we sit on are usually relatively clean! Toilet seats are designed to not pick up bacteria, so you can rest easy knowing that much, at least. But there’s more…

Dan McKay / Free Stock Photos

Almost all toilets have curved shapes and smooth surfaces that don’t make particularly inviting environments for germs, so it’s highly unlikely that you’d pick up many germs from sitting on a dry public toilet seat.

John Johnson / Pexels


In contrast, the surface of toilet paper is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and when a toilet flushes, it spreads germs all around the stall… including onto the paper itself, where it can survive and thrive.

Fae / Wikimedia Commons

With that in mind, you should definitely be aware that if you use toilet paper to cover your toilet seat, you’re actually coming into contact with way more germs than you would if you had simply left the seat alone.

toiletpaper2Women's Health

Furthermore, if you blow your nose, or even just wipe your hands with toilet paper, you’re actually spreading these particles all over your face and body. Talk about gross! Who wants to do that to themselves?


The other culprit for most bacteria found in public bathrooms? Believe it or not, low-mounted electric hand dryers are to blame. The germ-filled water collects at the bottom when you put your hands inside, only to get circulated back throughout the bathroom when the airflow turns on.

toiletpaper3Die Welt

So even though you aren’t touching anything, you’re still vulnerable to the effects of the viral particles in and around the machine. These dryers may be eco-friendly, but they’re definitely not as healthy as good old paper towels.

toiletpaper4Flickr / dan pope


Make no mistake: none of this is to say that you shouldn’t use public restrooms whenever you need them. After all, it’s unavoidable. Just be sure that when you do, you’re not accidentally being even more unhealthy in the name of safety!

There’s no need for these facts to make you panic, but it’s a good idea to keep them in mind the next time you use a public restroom. Maybe carry some hand sanitizer with you just in case!

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