While it is true many of us understand well the basics of toilet hygiene and guidelines, there are some teeny-weeny things we do inside the ‘toilet’ room that are embarrassingly wrong!
I won’t go into extensive details but stick to sobering toilet realities we commonly take for granted. These are realities that either expose our bodies to harmful bacteria or make us really stupid.
Food for thought: How often do you leave the toilet room wondering if you have done everything correctly, or stupidly?
Take these questions for example, how often do they cross your mind?
- Did I flush the toilet correctly?
- Did I wash my hands correctly?
- Should I have left the toilet lid up or down?
What else crosses our mind, or not?
The truth is, toilet etiquette and fecal matter are not necessarily our favorite talking points, yet they require our attention every now and then.
1. We leave our toothbrushes in the toilet!
There you go.
Beware where you place your toothbrush and toothbrushes for kids. Do you keep them above the cistern, or lock them up inside a plastic container inside the toilet room?
According to The Handbook: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World by Miryam Wharman, your toothbrush could be the carrier of more than 10 million bacteria, even more than the toilet seat – if you keep it inside the toilet room, always!
Every time you flush the toilet, particulates of bacteria can spread out to a radius of up to 6 feet, and this is within the reach of your toothbrush – bad toilet hygiene as a matter of fact.
The next time you brush your teeth you will probably ingest millions of bacteria from the fecal matter-infested brush. Ouch!
What to do:
- If you want to keep the toothbrush in the toilet room, make a point to place down the toilet cover every time you flush. Just as well PRAY that everyone else in the house does the same.
- Never brush your teeth without toothpaste, or else you will ingest all the bacteria therein. Toothpaste should help fight off stubborn bacteria stuck in the brush.
- Make sure your brushes dry up between brushes – just to reduce but not actually eliminate all bacteria
- Do not retain a toothbrush inside a plastic container
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, and better still you should not place your toothbrush anywhere inside the toilet room
2. The typical bathing sponge carries more germs than the toilet seat!
Yeah, you heard me right.
Your bathing sponges and loofahs, in particular, could be the resting place of millions of bacteria. While you happily soap it up hoping you are eliminating grime on your body, you could actually be infecting cuts, wounds, and other vulnerable parts on your skin.
This explains the acne in your face that never goes away, and persistent itching, and other irritations.
Research published in Journal Of Clinical Microbiology found out,
loofah sponges (and other exfoliatives) can serve as a reservoir and a vehicle for the transmission of potentially pathogenic species to the human skin, we recommend their decontamination with hypochlorite (10%) bleach at regular intervals.
The same can be said of bath towels, kitchen towels, and washing sponges, which stay moist most of the time.
What to do:
- Decontaminate sponges
- Never share bath sponges
- The natural bath sponge is a better alternative for toilet hygiene but must be dried as well
3. It is bad toilet hygiene to flush wet wipes
Yes, wet wipes appear small enough to find their way down the toilet pipes without much of a problem. Very true but also very wrong, for technical reasons.
Unlike fecal matter and toilet paper which actually dissolve minutes or a day after they hit the septic pathways, wipes do not dissolve and will pile up instead. It is only a matter of time before they become a plumbing and environmental nightmare.
The accumulation of wipes and other unbreakable disposables can create entangled blockages and corrode the sewerage pipes over time.
According to Natural History Museum in the UK,
Wet wipes flushed down toilets contribute to more than 90% of sewer blockages in the UK. They take many years to break down and when they do, they can be devastating for wildlife.
Other items not to flush in the toilet include, hand towels, and sanitary towels for women.
4. Water is better than toilet paper
For ages, we have used multiple kinds of cleaning agents to clean our bottoms after visiting the toilet. These include leaves, hard paper, wood, and walls – yikes! Many poor societies actually still use hard paper and leaves.
But top of the list has been the toilet paper and water. Toilet paper is the preferred choice for many, while Muslims, favor the use of water to clean the bums.
Whereas the Asian world has used the left hand and water to clean out the fecal matter, the western world has only embraced the practice because of the invention of bidets in the 21st Century!
Usually, the toilet paper can precede water and soap, or still, you can avoid the toilet paper altogether.
The problem with using toilet paper alone centers around its inability to fully clean the bums. The toilet paper actually shifts stool around the bum which can lead to yeast infections, micro-cuts, and UTIs.
According to Michael Ingber,
Toilet paper can irritate your vulva and your vagina, especially if you have sensitive skin
5. Our shiny smartphones carry millions of bacteria!
True as truth can be, that smartphone you happily swipe through while doing poop is collecting all the bacteria from your hands and the toilet environment.
The warmth on the touchscreen is very conducive for germs, where they feel quite homely. Unless neutralized, they will hang around and reproduce forever. After all, no one explains to us how to decontaminate smartphones, lest we damage them!
The irony is that we wash our hands with soap, but again, touch the smartphone, soon after. The germs crawl back into our hands as soon as we walk out of the toilet room. Sad indeed.
The good news is that you are not alone. Everyone in the 21st Century carries the smartphone to the toilet!