New Study Finds Toilet Lid Position Does Not Impact Spread of Viral Particles
In a recent study conducted by microbiologist Charles Gerba and his research team from the University of Arizona, it has been discovered that whether the toilet lid is open or closed does not prevent the spread of viral particles from a flushed toilet. The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, revealed that microscopic viral particles spread to the floor and nearby surfaces regardless of whether the lid is up or down.
Previous studies have indicated that a closed lid can reduce exposure to bacteria contamination on nearby surfaces. However, Gerba’s team found little difference in terms of smaller viral particles in residential restrooms. This information challenges the widely held belief that closing the toilet lid can significantly limit the spread of pathogens.
According to the study’s findings, the only effective way to reduce the spread of viral pathogens, such as norovirus, is to regularly disinfect the toilet, toilet water, and nearby surfaces. The researchers also found that cleaning the toilet bowl with a brush and a disinfectant was more effective at reducing contamination compared to using a brush alone.
Another researcher, Matthew Nonnenmann from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, suggested that keeping the toilet lid closed can help minimize the impact of particles ejected from a flushed toilet. Nonnenmann’s study discovered that particles and bioaerosols can linger in a restroom for up to 30 minutes after flushing, posing an increased risk for immunocompromised patients in hospitals.
To reduce bathroom germs, the study recommends regular sanitizing of toilets and nearby surfaces, keeping disinfectants and wipes easily accessible near the toilet, thorough handwashing, and avoiding handling phones while in the restroom. While individuals have control over cleaning their own toilets, ensuring cleanliness in public restrooms can be more challenging. However, people can still protect themselves by practicing good hand hygiene and using hand sanitizer.
This study’s findings emphasize the importance of maintaining a clean and sanitary restroom environment. By following proper hygiene practices and promoting regular disinfection, individuals can take steps to protect themselves and others from the spread of viral particles.