5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet (2023)

5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet (1)

Maybe you hover over the seat, or maybe you'd rather make a paper nest to protect yourself. Regardless of your choice of protection, you're not alone when avoiding the public seat. As many as 50 percent of women in the U.S. won't sit on a toilet seat in a public bathroom [source: ABC News]. Are we overreacting, or is there really a reason to assure our "assets" remain safe against what may be lurking on the toilet seat? We're talking about that which you can't see, not the mess the last user left behind.

Generally, you'll find about 50 bacteria per square inch on a toilet seat -- that's the average. While that may sound gross, there are definitely things around your house that are less clean in comparison. Your kitchen sponge, for instance, has about 10 million bacteria per square inch. That's 200,000 times dirtier than the toilet seat, and makes it pretty much the filthiest thing in your house [source: Pritchard]. Your cutting board, too, is a bacteria breeding ground, as are all your doorknobs. But that doesn't mean the toilet seat is off the hook.


Let's talk first about what everyone assumes you'll catch from visiting a public toilet. Sexually transmitted bacteria (such as chlamydia) and viruses (such as genital herpes) are passed along by skin-to-skin contact. Since those microbes die pretty much as soon as they hit the cold toilet seat, you can breathe a sigh of relief. It's so unlikely to catch an STI from a toilet that we're not going to mention it again. But there are a few infections that you really can pick up from an unsanitary porcelain throne, though the odds are still pretty low. But if you're at the right place (sitting on a toilet seat) at the right time (when the seat's contaminated with feces) it could happen (if you don't wash and dry your hands thoroughly).


  1. E. coli
  2. Shigella Bacteria
  3. Streptococcus
  4. Staphylococcus
  5. Influenza (and the Common Cold)

5: E. coli

5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet (2)

E.coli (Escherichia coli) is fecal-borne bacteria, and when you're talking about toilets, you're in the right neighborhood for contamination. E. coli is a bacteria that's normally found in our intestines, and if you're accidentally exposed to it -- usually from contaminated water or food, but it's been known to cling to nonporous surfaces, too -- you could be struck down with diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal cramping and vomiting.

Gastrointestinal viruses such as norovirus (which is the bane of many a cruise ship crew and passenger), also cause stomach distress, and similar to E. coli, they are easily transmitted from person to person. Norovirus has been found contaminating nonporous surfaces, including toilet seats, for as long as two weeks (and that's despite those surfaces having been cleaned) [source: Said et al].


4: Shigella Bacteria

5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet (3)

Shigella bacteria passes very easily among people, especially when you forget to wash your hands (or if you're among the 95 percent of people who don't correctly wash their hands). These bacterium causes shigellosis, but you're probably more likely to recognize one of its trademark infections: dysentery. Shigellosis causes infectious, severe diarrhea, abdominal cramping and other gastrointestinal distress that may last for about a week (although some types, such as dysentery, are known to be nasty enough to cause epidemics). And while the bacteria are most infectious during the diarrhea phase of the condition, they remains willing and able to infect you for weeks after their host is feeling better.

Shigella infections, similar to E. coli, happen when an infected person's feces contaminates a surface -- and, yes, those surfaces include toilets, toilet handles and toilet seats. You can also become infected if you consume contaminated food or water handled by an infected person who hasn't practiced good hygiene. Not to scare you, but about 14,000 cases are reported in the U.S. every year [source: CDC].


The best way to keep a toilet and its seat free of shigella bacteria is to clean it with bleach. Otherwise, keep the bacteria at bay by washing your hands, and if you just don't trust that toilet seat, wipe it down with a disinfectant or antibacterial wipe before you sit.

3: Streptococcus

5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet (4)

Streptococcus is a common bacteria that's usually found in your throat, and if you've ever had strep throat or bronchial pneumonia you've had some experience with it. Streptococci can also cause contagious skin infections, including impetigo (a rash that most often affects pre-school kids and babies). It can also cause an invasive, serious skin infection called necrotizing fasciitis (also known as "flesh-eating" bacteria). And here's the worst news: About 39 percent of toilet seats harbor this nasty bug [source: Shoemaker].

So, are we really talking about flesh-eating bacteria lying in wait on a public toilet seat? While it's possible you could contract such an infection from a shared seat, it's highly unlikely. Only about 1 percent of adults carry the strep bacteria on their skin or in their throat, and it's estimated that you're more likely -- at least 50 percent more likely -- to be struck by lightning this year than to develop such an infection [source: Paediactrics & Child Health].


2: Staphylococcus

5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet (5)

Staph (Staphylococcus) likes to hang around, and it can contaminate a nonporous surface for longer than you may expect. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), for example, can live on a toilet seat -- and any nonporous part of a toilet -- for more than two months. And it only takes as few as three seconds for it to transmit from a seat to your skin [source: Clinical Infectious Diseases]. However, despite the bad news about its longevity, the truth about staph on toilet seats is this: You're more likely to expose yourself to it by using your cell phone than you are by sitting on toilet seat. More than half of all our phones carry the bacteria [source: Cohen].

Still not convinced that the toilet's safe? Then here's what you need to do: Skip those paper seat covers and carry antiseptic alcohol wipes with you. Wipe the seat before you sit. It's the only effective way to be sure you've killed staph, as well as other bacteria that may cause boils or skin infections.


1: Influenza (and the Common Cold)

5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet (6)

Influenza and other viruses can live for as many as two or three days on nonporous surfaces, including your phone, the remote control and (no surprise) the toilet seat -- and some of these viral strains may live even longer. Bird flu, for example, can live for weeks, just waiting for you to have a seat [source: Wood, et al]. The common cold, on the other hand (or would that be the other cheek?), isn't that much of a threat. You could still catch a cold from the toilet seat, but rhinovirus usually survives less than a day on hard surfaces [source: Winther].

The trick with the cold and flu is not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth after you've touched the toilet seat (or a doorknob, or your office keyboard, etc.). It's easily transmitted through mucous membranes. We shouldn't have to remind you, but always wash your hands after using the bathroom.


Lots More Information

Author's Note: 5 Diseases You Really Can Get From a Toilet

It's undeniably gross when you discover the person who visited the public bathroom before you had, ahem, bad aim, but the seat isn't the filthiest thing about a toilet. Actually, that's probably the flusher. Think about it; how often do you flush with your foot instead of your hand? Right.

Related Articles

  • A Germ by Any Other Name: 'Stomach Flu' and Other medical Misnomers
  • 8 Germiest Public Places That Could Be Making You Sick
  • 10 Grossest Things in Your Body Right Now
  • Does the five second rule really work?
  • How long can a germ live in a room?

More Great Links

  • ABC News. "Myth: Toilet Seats Are the Dirtiest Thing in the Bathroom." October 14, 2005. (May 15, 2014) http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=1213831
  • Borchgrevink, Carl P.; Cha, Jae Min; and Sung Hyun Kim. "Eww! Only 5 percent of us wash hands correctly." Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business. June 10, 2013. (May 15, 2014) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-06/msu-eo5061013.php
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. "Shigellosis: General Information." May 14, 2013. (May 15, 2014) http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/shigellosis/
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "Necrotizing Fasciitis: A Rare Disease, Especially for the Healthy." June 28, 2013. (May 15, 2014) http://www.cdc.gov/features/necrotizingfasciitis/
  • Cocoon. "Determining the Effectiveness of Antimicrobial, Antibacterial, Antifungal Protection in Cocoon Bioshield Membrane." (May 15, 2014) http://www.cocoon.net.au/Cocoon%20Biodefence.pdf
  • Cohen, Hiyaguha. "Dangers In The Bathroom." Baseline of Health Foundation. Oct. 27, 2012. (May 15, 2014) http://jonbarron.org/article/dangers-bathroom#.U3KmFvldVbw
  • Dugdale, David C. "Avian Influenza." The New York Times. Feb. 4, 2013. (May 15, 2014) http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/avian-influenza/overview.html
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council. "Your Questions Answered: Shigella." (May 15, 2014) http://www.eastcambs.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Shigella.pdf
  • Fox, Maggie. "Swine Flu Deaths Show This Flu Is Difference--Experts." Clinical infectious Diseases. Vol. 49, no. 10. Pages i-ii. Sept. 15, 2009. (May 15, 2014) http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/10/i.full
  • Giannini, Mary Anne; Nance, Donna; and Jonathan A. McCullers. "Are toilet seats a vector for transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus?" American Journal of Infection Control. Vol. 37, no. 6. Pages 505-506. August 2009. (May 15, 2014) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2965062/
  • Hygiene Council. (May 15, 2014) http://www.hygienecouncil.org/explore/hygiene-hotspots-home.aspx
  • Litchfield District Council - Health Protection Team. "'Bugs' Information Leaflet On: Dysentery (Shigella)." October 2002. (May 15, 2014). http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/360/dysentery-bugs0leaflet.pdf
  • Mayo Clinic. "E. coli." July 28, 2011. (May 15, 2014) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/e-coli/basics/definition/con-20032105
  • Paediatrics & Child Health."Invasive strep infections and 'the flesh-eating disease'." Vol. 4, no. 1. Pages 77-78. Jan-Feb. 1999. (May 15, 2014) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828232/
  • Perl, Trish M.; and Cynthia L. Sears. "Gastrointestinal Flu: Norovirus in health Care and Long-term Care Facilities." Clinical Infectious Diseases. Vol. 47, no. 9. Pages 1202-1208. 2008. (May 15, 2014) http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/9/1202.long
  • Pritchard, Charlotte. "Is the toilet seat really the dirtiest place in the home?" BBC News. Nov. 16, 2012. (May 15, 2014) http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20324304
  • Roufos, Anna. "Germ and Bacteria Hot-Spots: 12 Things You Should Know." Fitness. January 2006. (May 15, 2014) http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/fitness/printableStory.jsp?storyid=/templatedata/fitness/story/data/1135881081453.xml
  • Shaw, Gina. "Bathroom Germs You Really Can Catch." WebMD. Nov. 16, 2011. (May 15, 2014) http://www.webmd.com/parenting/d2n-stopping-germs-12/bathroom-germs
  • Shoemaker, Dawn. "Who Is Really At Risk In Public Restrooms?" Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online. Oct. 4, 2013 (May 15, 2014) http://www.cmmonline.com/articles/231958-who-is-really-at-risk-in-public-restrooms
  • WebMD. "What Can You Catch in Restrooms?" (May 15, 2014) http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/what-can-you-catch-in-restrooms
  • Winther, B; McCue, K; Ashe, K; Rubino, JR; and JO Hendley. "Environmental contamination with rhinovirus and transfer to fingers of healthy individuals by daily life activity." Journal of Medical Virology. October 2007. Vol. 79, no. 10. Pages 1606-1610. (May 15, 2014) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17705174?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1
  • Wood, Joseph P., et al. "Environmental Persistence of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus." Environmental Science and Technology. Sept. 3, 2010. (May 20, 2014) http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es1016153


5 Germs You Really Can Get From a Toilet? ›

However, even if there are fewer of them, you may still encounter various germs on your toilet seat including fecal bacteria, influenza, streptococcus, E. coli, hepatitis, MRSA, salmonella, shigella and norovirus.

How many germs come out of the toilet? ›

On average, a toilet bowl contains 3.2 million bacteria per square inch*, including germs in toilet water. This is in addition to the bacteria found on the other parts that you have come into contact with, such as the flush handle covered in as much as 83 bacteria per sq.

Can toilet germs make you sick? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fecal bacteria can spread and make people sick if you use the toilet and don't wash your hands. Still, scientists agree that there's little need to worry about bathroom germs.

Is it safe to sit on public toilet? ›

So, yes, you can sit on that toilet seat with little fear, just make sure you wash your hands when you're done. And, of course, if you're not feeling that adventurous, there's always the paper cover thingies.

Is there more germs under your nails than a toilet seat? ›

Our nails have more bacteria than any other surface, including a toilet seat and the London Underground. You may want to think twice before biting your nails with the analysis revealing the bacteria found underneath them comes to a gruesome average of 50,430 per nail.

What is the germiest part of the toilet? ›

Studies have shown that of all the surface areas in the bathroom, the floor is by far the dirtiest. That's because when we flush the toilet germs spread everywhere, and land on—you guessed it—the floor.

Does flushing a toilet spread germs? ›

These tiny water drops can carry pathogens such as E. coli, C. difficile, noroviruses and adenoviruses, and while many past studies have shown that these pathogens can live in the toilet bowl for dozens of flushes, the increase for potential exposure risk may be cause for concern.

Why you should close toilet lid before flushing? ›

Smaller particles that remain suspended in air can expose people to respiratory disease, such as influenza and COVID-19, through inhalation, while larger particles that settle quickly on surfaces can spread intestinal diseases, such as norovirus, through contact with the hands and mouth.

Can a dirty toilet cause UTI? ›

A lot of women I know—including me—would rather squeeze in the urge to pee than use a dirty toilet seat. But experts are adamant that any connection between UTIs—one of the most common bacterial infections—and icky toilet seats is a myth.

Can you get sick from not washing your hands after toilet? ›

Many diseases spread if you don't properly wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom. This includes norovirus, C. diff, and E. coli since they cause diarrhea which could get onto your hands when you use the bathroom, Dr.

How long is it safe to sit on the toilet? ›

Most professionals recommend spending no more time on the toilet than it takes to pass a stool. Studies have shown that the average bowel movement takes 12 seconds. Sometimes it does take longer, however, so at maximum, you should not spend more than 10 minutes on the toilet.

Is it sanitary to sit on toilet seat? ›

Pathogens are not transmitted via skin contact

Even if many public restrooms do not look inviting - sitting on toilet seats cannot transfer germs if the skin is intact. Admittedly, sanitary conditions are not inviting in many public restrooms.

What to do after using a public toilet? ›

You should immediately wash your hands after using the toilet in a public restroom. Here's a reminder why: Washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds is an effective way to rid your hands of viruses and bacteria, according to the CDC.

What is 3 times dirtier than a toilet seat? ›

So many will be horrified to hear that our desks are three times dirtier than toilet seats. A study found the average keyboard harbours as many germs as a kitchen bin while a computer mouse is filthier than a typical door mat.

Are toilet germs airborne? ›

In addition to the visible drops of water that are generated upon flushing the toilet, smaller droplets that are just micrometres (µM) in diameter also form and are propelled into the surrounding air. These aerosolised droplets could contain faecal bacteria, such as E. coli, and spread disease.

What kind of infections can you get from a dirty toilet seat? ›

However, even if there are fewer of them, you may still encounter various germs on your toilet seat including fecal bacteria, influenza, streptococcus, E. coli, hepatitis, MRSA, salmonella, shigella and norovirus.

What are 2 things you should never flush down a toilet? ›

Never flush the following items down the toilet or pour them down a drain:
  • Automotive fluids*
  • Bandages and bandage wrappings.
  • Cleaning wipes of any kind.
  • Condoms.
  • Contact lenses.
  • Cotton balls and swabs.
  • Dental floss.
  • Disposable diapers.

What kills feces germs? ›

Slowly add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of bleach to 2 cups (500 ml) of water. To be used on surfaces contaminated with feces, vomit, urine or blood. Slowly add ½ cup (125 ml) of bleach to 4 ½ cups (1125 ml) of water. (e.g., environmental cleaning, body fluids, etc.).

Should you leave toilet lid up or down when you go on vacation? ›

Tip #2 – Leave the toilet seat up and open when away for an extended time. Why? Because air can then circulate in the toilet bowl, reducing the chance of built-up scum.

Where does pee go when you flush? ›

Not Designed to Remove Nitrogen

As waste water flows through the ground, the nitrogen from urine and other wastewater content is typically converted to nitrate, which is reactive. Nitrate travels through the ground water until it eventually flows to surface waters or drinking water wells.

Should you flush every time you pee? ›

"Urine is normally sterile as a body fluid. Even if you have a urinary tract infection with bacteria in your urine it would be inactivated with the chlorine levels in the public water supply," he said. "So there's really no known disease transmission with urine left un-flushed in the toilet."

Should you close the toilet lid after pooping? ›

The easiest way to curb this literal explosion of bacteria is simple: Close the lid. "It is a good idea to lower the seat, especially if the bathroom is used by multiple people," Philip Tierno, a microbiologist at New York University, told Business Insider.

Should you close the toilet lid after peeing? ›

"Closing the lid reduces the spread of droplets,” Hill explained. If you're in a public bathroom where there is no toilet seat to be found, keep as clean as possible by not leaning over the bowl when you flush and washing your hands immediately afterward.

What happens if you sit on a dirty toilet? ›

"Sitting on the toilet isn't a great risk because the pathogens in waste are gastrointestinal pathogens. The real risk is touching surfaces that might be infected with bacteria and viruses and then ingesting them because they're on your hands," says Dr. Pentella.

Can gonorrhea be contacted from toilet? ›

Gonorrhea isn't spread through casual contact, so you CAN'T get it from sharing food or drinks, kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on toilet seats. Many people with gonorrhea don't have any symptoms, but they can still spread the infection to others.

What's wrong when you urinate a lot? ›

Frequent urination is a symptom of many different conditions and can have a wide variety of treatments. It can be a symptom of pregnancy or a urinary tract infection, or more serious or long-lasting conditions like diabetes, overactive bladder or prostate issues.

Why don t guys wash their hands after peeing? ›

Urine is generally sterile, but bacteria from feces may spread and contaminate surfaces you're unwashed hands touched. I had quite a discussion with a male friend on the subject of washing your hands after urinating. I consider it unnecessary. There are no bacteria in urine.

What percent of people don t wash their hands after pooping? ›

Over half (58%) of US adults say they always wash their hands with soap after going to the restroom at home. A quarter (25%) say they wash with soap most of the time after a trip to the bathroom at home, while 10% do this some of the time and 4 percent rarely do.

Do you wash your hands after you pee at home? ›

Yes, You Still Need to Wash Your Hands When You Use the Bathroom at Home. Here's how to do it right. We all know the drill: After you use the bathroom, you wash your hands.

Why haven't I used the bathroom in a week? ›

Things that contribute to constipation can include stress, diet, and lack of physical activity. A person may also find they don't poop as often as they age because their intestines tend to move more slowly. There are many treatments available to help relieve constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

What is the longest time sitting on a toilet? ›

His goal was to hit 165 hours (almost seven days) of sitting on the loo, however, due to sore legs, he only made it to 116 hours. The Guinness World Records team have yet to comment on the validity of the record, so it looks like Jimmy will have to sit tight.

Why do I get pins and needles in my leg when I sit on the toilet? ›

That “pins and needles” feeling occurs simply because you're sitting there too long—and in a non-ideal position. Related: Are You Pooping All Wrong? When most people sit on the toilet, they tend to hunch forward.

What is the healthiest way to sit on the toilet? ›

You should lean forward into a 35 degree angle instead of being up straight at 90 degrees. This is because when you need to go to the toilet, your puborectalis muscle relaxes and the rectum angle widens. The puborectalis muscle is a band that wraps around the lower rectum.

Why is it impolite to leave the toilet seat up? ›

The lid was designed to keep germs where they belong, in the bowl and down the drain! If you leave the lid up when you flush, those germs can float around your bathroom, landing on any available surface, including towels, hairbrushes or even toothbrushes. Nobody wants that!

Can you get anything from sitting on a public toilet? ›

Yes, there can be plenty of bugs lying in wait in public restrooms, including both familiar and unfamiliar suspects like streptococcus, staphylococcus, E. coli and shigella bacteria, hepatitis A virus, the common cold virus, and various sexually transmitted organisms.

What to do before using a public toilet? ›

If you decide to venture out and find that you need to go, here are some do's and don'ts for minimizing your risk:
  1. DON'T forget to go before leaving home. ...
  2. DO carry supplies with you. ...
  3. DO put the lid down. ...
  4. DO use a piece of clean toilet paper to flush. ...
  5. DON'T use your foot to flush. ...
  6. DO maintain distance.
Aug 19, 2020

What is the polite alternative for public toilet? ›

synonyms for public toilet

On this page you'll find 10 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to public toilet, such as: bathroom, comfort room, ladies' room, lavatory, men's room, and public convenience.

What is bathroom etiquette? ›

Make sure you do not wet the toilet seat. Do not throw water on the floor as someone might slip and get hurt. Females should always sit on the toilet seat while peeing. Male employees should always stand a little close to the toilet seat to avoid dripping. Never forget to use flush once you are done.

Do cell phones have more bacteria than toilet seats? ›

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that cellphones carry ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat. While many bacteria are harmless, some studies have found serious pathogens on cellphones like E-Coli, MRSA, and Strep. To avoid picking up bacteria, don't take your phone in the bathroom with you.

Are mobile phones dirtier than toilets? ›

How many germs are actually on your phone? Let's face it: Your phone is a breeding ground for germs. And what is especially unsanitary about it is how close you put it to your face and mouth on a regular basis. Scientists at the University of Arizona found that your phone is ten times dirtier than most toilet seats.

What part of the bathroom has the most bacteria? ›

Studies have shown that of all the surface areas in the bathroom, the floor is by far the dirtiest. That's because when we flush the toilet germs spread everywhere, and land on—you guessed it—the floor.

Where are the most germs in a toilet? ›

This is in addition to the bacteria found on the other parts that you have come into contact with, such as the flush handle covered in as much as 83 bacteria per sq. in and the toilet seat surrounded by over 295 bacteria per sq. in.

Why should you put the toilet lid down before flushing? ›

What to Know. Toilets are designed to efficiently empty the contents of the bowl through a downward motion into the drainpipe, but the force of the flush cycle also creates a fine spray of particles in the air. Those particles easily spread when a lid is left up during flushing.

Does flushing the toilet spread germs? ›

These tiny water drops can carry pathogens such as E. coli, C. difficile, noroviruses and adenoviruses, and while many past studies have shown that these pathogens can live in the toilet bowl for dozens of flushes, the increase for potential exposure risk may be cause for concern.

Can you get a UTI from toilet water splash? ›

Dr. Cullins warns, “Anything that brings bacteria in contact with the vulva and/or urethra can cause a UTI. This can happen when germs enter the urethra during sex, unwashed hands touching genitals, or even when toilet water back splashes.” Yeah, you can get a UTI from the bacteria in toilet water back splash.

How long do diseases live on toilet seats? ›

Bacteria like Staphylococcus can contaminate non-porous surfaces for more than two months. Spending 3 minutes on a toilet seat contaminated with this bacterium can lead to skin rash or skin infections.

Can you catch hepatitis from a toilet seat? ›

You cannot catch hepatitis B or Hepatitis C from a toilet seat, by touching or hugging an infected person. Crockery and cutlery used by someone with Hepatitis B or C can be washed in hot soapy water or dishwasher in the normal way.

What has 400 times more germs than a toilet seat? ›

Did you know that the average desk harbors about 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat? Dr. Charles Gerba, known as the University of Arizona "germ guru," says you might not be the only one working late in your office.

How much bacteria is in a public toilet? ›

Within an hour of normal use, there were 500,000 bacterial cells per square inch on the bathroom surfaces, on average. "The bacterial load shed by the people using that space was extraordinary," Gilbert told Live Science. But when left undisturbed, many of these bacteria quickly perished.

What has more germs than a bathroom? ›

A home's kitchen sink carries more bacteria than both the toilet and the garbage can, Gerba's research found. "There's more fecal bacteria in a sink than there is in a flushed toilet," Gerba told "Today." "That's why dogs drink out of the toilet. They know better than to drink out of the kitchen sink," he joked.

What kills germs in the toilet? ›

Simply measure out half a cup's worth of bleach and pour it into your toilet bowl, using your toilet brush to scrub it into the bowl and beneath the bowl's rim, also allowing five minutes to pass before you flush it all away.

What carries the most germs in a house? ›

Kitchen rags, towels and sponges are notorious for bacterial contamination. The sink drain, sink and countertops are also frequently contaminated. Cutting boards, coffee filters, the dishwasher and fridge seals are also top locations for contamination.

How many germs does a washcloth have? ›

If you start with a single bacterium, you will have two bacteria after a couple of hours. Then, you'll have four bacteria in three hours and eight bacteria by four hours. After a full day, there could be 4,096 bacteria on your washcloth.

What's the cleanest part of your house? ›

What is the cleanest part of your house? Surprisingly, the cleanest part of your house is likely to be your toilet pan. While the bathroom is wrongly thought to be a hothouse of bacteria in your home, the toilet has been proven time and time again to carry fewer bacteria than certain areas of your kitchen.

How dirty is flushed toilet water? ›

Is The Water In The Toilet Dirty? The water in your toilet bowl is actually clean. Sure, it is full of bacteria, but that is because it contains sewage—which, by definition, is wastewater that contains human waste. However, the water itself is relatively clean and poses no health risk.

What percent of human feces is bacteria? ›

About 30 percent of the solid matter consists of dead bacteria; about 30 percent consists of indigestible food matter such as cellulose; 10 to 20 percent is cholesterol and other fats; 10 to 20 percent is inorganic substances such as calcium phosphate and iron phosphate; and 2 to 3 percent is protein.

Can public toilets cause UTI? ›

We cannot get a UTI from a toilet, as the urethra does not touch the seat. As long as the urethra does not come into contact with the seat, we are safe from certain infections. The toilet seat is not a common way for bacteria to enter our bodies.

What is usually the dirtiest item in our homes? ›

Dish Sponge

It's the dirtiest thing in your house. By a long shot. That makes sense: It's wet, absorbent, and you rub food and dirt with it all the time. Sponges are hard to keep clean, try as you might.

Does pee have a lot of germs? ›

An average of 5.8 bacterial species were found in females and 7.1 in males. But don't worry that your urine has bacteria in it. According to a 2019 research review, your bladder naturally contains a “healthy” amount of bacteria that maintain the integrity of your bladder's lining.

What has the most germs on your body? ›

Your gut is home to most of the microbes in your body, but your skin, mouth, lungs, and genitalia also harbour diverse populations. And as research continues into body biomes, it should reveal answers about how these microorganisms are promoting health or even disease.

What is the most hygienic way to clean a toilet? ›

As a one-stop cleaning solution, pour one cup of bleach around the bowl. Then tackle every inch with a toilet brush or a handheld scrub brush. Let it sit for five minutes, then flush.

Is it OK to leave bleach in toilet overnight? ›

Leaving bleach in a toilet overnight is fine, but you shouldn't leave it any longer, or else it might corrode your toilet. If you do decide to leave it in the bowl overnight, let other members of your household know so that they don't use the toilet and accidentally mix the bleach with ammonia from urine.

What viruses are found in toilets? ›

Yes, there can be plenty of bugs lying in wait in public restrooms, including both familiar and unfamiliar suspects like streptococcus, staphylococcus, E. coli and shigella bacteria, hepatitis A virus, the common cold virus, and various sexually transmitted organisms.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated: 11/06/2023

Views: 6693

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.