Toilets make a big splash in the news


Erik Deckers

Do you wash your hands after you use the bathroom?


Well, a third of you are liars.

According to a recent survey, one-third of Americans don’t wash their hands after using a public bathroom. And they all use the same bathroom I do.

If you’re one of the two-thirds of Americans who do wash their hands and you’re about to have lunch with a friend, there’s a 50/50 chance the other person did not. So think about that as you shake hands with them.

I see these non-washers in the restrooms, taking care of business then breezing right past the sink, ignoring it harder than rich people ignoring the homeless.

These bathroom bumpkins root around, scratch what itches, tuck everything back into place, and then make sure to rub their sweaty, cootie-infested hand all over the door handle before sitting down to eat.

They play with their cell phone, shake hands with their lunch partner or hold hands with their dinner partner, and think nothing of scratching their face or rubbing their eyes.

Their food comes — a nice, tasty cheeseburger — and they hoist it up with their germ-encrusted fingers to their gaping maw, where they will no doubt chew with their mouths open.

A few years ago, whenever I’d encounter an anti-soaper, I was stunned at their lack of concern for their own well-being or that of the people around them, and I would wonder how they could be so callous about infecting themselves or spreading diseases to other people.

It’s 2022, and I’m no longer surprised by it.

“I can’t see the germs, so how do I know they’re really there?” one science-denier said.

I said, “Um, we’re at a church.”

But if you’re not a hand-washer, chances are you’re not a lid putter-downer either. Most people aren’t. And this latest toilet news is making a splash.

According to a poll commissioned by Harpic, maker of British toilet cleaning products, 55% of people in the United Kingdom don’t put the toilet lid down when they flush.

When asked why they didn’t lower their lids, 47 percent of the people said they never knew of the health problems related to it. These are undoubtedly the same people who are unaware of the importance of handwashing.

Another 25% said they were afraid of touching the toilet bowl lids. Just use your feet, people! That’s what I do.

And the remainder just said they forget to do it. Hopefully, after you read the rest of this column, you’ll remember.

Harpic also released some colorful photos that demonstrate how waste spray can fly out of the toilet when it’s flushed to drive the matter home. They used “high-speed specialist camera technology” to capture the droplets that sprayed during a toilet flush.

Of course, this is all very disgusting and fascinating, and we must know this. But I really want to know more about these special toilet cameras. Are these waterproof cameras? Do they have a remote control, or do you have to be in the same room as the deadly toilets? And do people make jokes about toilet bowl ring lights and “flash the toilet?”

Based on these latest studies and past toilet turbulence testing, we know toilets can spray mist and microdroplets up to six feet away.

That is, whenever you flush your toilet, the aerosol, mist, and water droplets can travel up to six feet away from the point of splashdown. That includes your magazines, decorations and the extra rolls of TP you store next to the toilet.

And no matter how many times you flush, says the Harpic corporation, your toilet bowl is covered in a layer of what scientists call “biofilm.”

“Biofilm” is polite science talk for “icky waste stuff.”

That means, even when you flush an empty toilet because you like wasting water, you’re still spreading droplets of biofilm as far as six feet from your toilet.

How far away did you say your toothbrush was?

Also, said the septic scientists, aerosol droplets can reach almost three feet in height and stay in the air for as much as a minute. Now imagine how far those droplets can travel if your AC or furnace is running.

Think about that the next time you brush your teeth.

If anything, this should put to rest the Great Seat Debate about whether you should put the toilet seat up or down. Just put the lid down completely, so you avoid waste spray geysering through your bathroom.

If your spouse insists on continuing the argument, just make sure your toothbrush is safely tucked away. And then wash your hands of the entire thing.


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