It’s a strange, yet incredibly common habit among people to cover the toilet seat in public restrooms with toilet paper.
The reason behind this is the belief that by doing so, you’ll somehow prevent a possible infection from other people’s urine that may have remained on the seat. And you can’t blame yourself for that. But, you should know that you’re far from doing the right thing.
According to health experts, toilet liners are actually more about giving comfort and reassurance to the user than doing anything to prevent disease. The reason for this is that toilet seats can’t possibly transmit any infectious agents, meaning the chances of you becoming infected are near zero. While it’s true that toilet seats were once thought to be possible transmitters of gastrointestinal or sexually transmitted infections, the theory has been negated by researchers.
Another shortcoming of covering the toilet seat with toilet paper is that in this way you’re actually doing yourself more harm than good. The thing is toilet paper, which is usually placed near the toilet seat, is often covered with harmful viruses and bacteria, because when people flush, they don’t put the toilet seat down. A study has found that these splashes can disperse bacteria and viruses up to 2m in height often leaving them on the toilet paper. So, unless you’re using your personal toilet paper, try avoiding using the public one.
Last, but not least, health experts reassure that the only reason why toilet liners are used in public restrooms is because they do provide some reassurance and comfort to people, especially those who have the ‘ick’ factor. Although disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli and streptococcus can be found on a toilet seat, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get infected. For one thing, your skin serves as an effective, protective barrier that prevents such bacteria attacking your body.