Old toilet seats harbor few germs, but those few can be doozies
While there are usually about 50 bacteria per square inch on old toilet seats, it’s not nearly as bad as your kitchen sponge, which has approximately 10 million bacteria per square inch. Your kitchen sponge is 200,000 times dirtier than your old toilet seat!
However, a chipped or cracked toilet seat can harbor bacteria, and some of those bacteria can make you pretty unhappy.
What are the risks of sitting on an old toilet seat?
Although it seems counterintuitive, hard surfaces such as toilet seats can hold bacteria and viruses, sometimes for days. There are studies that have found bacteria such as the antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus (one of several so-called “flesh-eating” bacteria), E. coli, norovirus, shigella, and streptococcus surviving on hard surfaces. Staphylococcus, for instance, can contaminate a nonporous surface for more than two months. And it only takes as few as three seconds for it to transmit from a seat to your skin. Below are 11 gnarly germs you can pick up from old toilet seats:
- E. coli
- The common cold
- Hepatitis A
- Urinary tract infections
- Blood poisoning
- Kidney infections
In theory, almost any disease can be transmitted from a toilet seat. And even small amounts of urine left on a toilet seat for up to 45 minutes can result in cross contamination.
The good news about toilet seats
First of all, keep in mind that even old toilet seats are designed to repel bacteria. Their shape and the overall smoothness make it hard for germs to latch onto them.
And regular cleaning, preferably with a 10% bleach solution, is a huge help in keeping your bathroom user-friendly. The trickiest part of cleaning a toilet seat is getting around the hinges, but most seats now are made with easy-release hinges, so you can simply remove the seat for more thorough cleaning.
Still, you may want to consider replacing your toilet seats, especially if you’ve just moved into a new home, where you have no idea who might have used that seat before you! Some people change their seats once a year, while others only do it when the seat is worn or cracked, offering germs a cozy place to live.
Luckily, toilet seats are inexpensive, so you can go wild.
Of course, there are some things to consider when you buy a new toilet seat. First, although most toilets are standard sizes, make sure the new seat will fit by measuring the space between the hinges on the existing toilet.
Then there’s the shape of the toilet itself. A round toilet calls for a round seat, and an elongated one needs an elongated seat. Round toilets are popular in bathrooms where space is at a premium, and some people claim they’re more sanitary than elongated seats.
But elongated toilet bowls offer more room for serious flushing, so others believe the elongated seats are cleaner. And some, like those made of molded wood, tend to be warmer and more comfortable than plastic.
However, if you’re not careful with your toilet seats and tend to slam them shut, wood can chip and the seat can break, so keep that in mind if you’re leaning toward wood.
On the other hand, plastic is a more common material, tends to be sturdier than and is, therefore, less likely to attract germs.
A word of warning: Some manufacturers claim their plastic seats are made of “antibacterial” materials. This is a sketchy claim with no substantive proof behind it. If you clean your toilet seat regularly, you don’t need to spend the extra money for this feature.
Soft toilet seats are quite popular for the comfort they provide to the backside. Just be sure you clean these with bleach, because the vinyl that encloses the padding on many soft seats has thousands of tiny holes that can harbor bacteria.
Also, the vinyl can crack, again providing a handy home for germs. So if you love the comfort of a soft seat, just keep in mind that you might have to replace it more often than a hard seat. Fortunately, many are inexpensive, so replacing it is no hardship.
The ultimate in toilet seats is the soft-close seat. With a soft-close seat, you eliminate the slamming that comes with other seats, thereby reducing chips and cracks and making your toilet seat a cleaner place to place your tush.
Whatever type of toilet seat you prefer, remember to look for easy-release hinges, such as those found at Curtainandbathoutlet.com, and take advantage of them to clean your toilet seat regularly.
And with our high quality and low prices, it’s easy to replace as many toilet seats as you want!
Of course, the necessary complement to a clean toilet is a steady supply of toilet paper. That’s why we like the Tulip Toilet Paper Holder for 3 Rolls.
A clean bathroom also deserves a splash of color. Check out the Rainbow Fish Bath Ensemble for a dive into an ocean-themed bath.