Toilet germs...

waloshin

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Oct 9, 2008
3,168
66
When you flush the toliet water molecules explode into the air unless the person closes the lid prior to flushing. Those molecules have bacteria that can become harmful.

So what distance can these germs fly in the air?

How long do they stay in the air?

The reason why i'm asking is because my bedroom is right across our bathroom and I was wondering is it even safe to have my toothbrush in my bedroom.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,409
Relax. Toilets have been ejecting that crap into the air for years. Closing the lid is useless, the water molecules and germs, billions of them, escape in the space between the bowl and seat and the seal and lid. Literally billions of germs, fecal matter and who knows what else. Cover your toothbrush man.

I wouldn't worry much about it.
 

Attachments

iOrlando

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2008
1,813
1
i don't leave my toothbrush in the bathroom. I carry it in and out for this reason.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
MythBusters did this one, and the result (from Wiki):

After confirming that a toilet flush does put out an aerosol spray, Adam builds a rack to hold 44 toothbrushes at various distances from the toilet in the shop, as well as two controls kept in the office. Each day, Adam and Jamie exposed the brushes to toothpaste and rinsed with distilled water, with brushing with a pair kept right above the toilet bowl. Fecal coliforms were indeed found on all the test brushes, including the control ones, but none at a level high enough to be dangerous. A microbiologist from UCSF confirmed that such coliforms were impossible to completely avoid, and that there was no significant difference in the number of bacteria based on where the toothbrushes were placed in respect to the toilet bowl.
And they also found that a toilet seat is one of the cleanest things in your house:


Adam and Jamie selected several items that might carry large amounts of germs, including a toilet seat for comparison. They swabbed a small area of each item, dipped the swabs in liquid growth medium, and transferred the mixtures to agar plates. After the samples were incubated overnight, they were analyzed to determine the number of germ colonies. Results were as follows:
  • Toilet seat - 2
  • Cell phone - 6
  • Shopping cart handle - 10
  • Hotel room TV remote - 44
  • Computer keyboard - 65
  • Light switch - 332
  • Paper money - 936
  • Kitchen sponge - Too many to count
In descending order, the sponge, money, light switch, and keyboard were found to have the highest numbers of dangerous germs. Adam and Jamie recruited a college class to take swabs from 10 of each item, again including 10 toilet seats for comparison, and incubated them as before. This time, the ranking (in descending order of average germ count) was: sponge, money, keyboard, toilet seat, light switch. Because some items did have more germs than the toilet seats, the myth was labeled as confirmed.
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,708
4,274
"Between the Hedges"
Thank God for MythBusters, now I can brush my teeth before I go to sleep tonight!

Of course I can't turn off the light before I go to bed!
Or type on my keyboard
Or talk on my cell phone

Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
Thank God for MythBusters, now I can brush my teeth before I go to sleep tonight!

Of course I can't turn off the light before I go to bed!
Or type on my keyboard
Or talk on my cell phone

Woof, Woof - Dawg
Seeing the bacteria count on the kitchen sponge is a perfect excuse for never washing dishes again either :D
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,218
1,584
It's people over the years avoiding germs and types of foods that have caused so many allergies and pandemics.

I'm not saying don't wash your hands but hell if ur kid comes in covered in mud with a cut don't rush them to the er for a jab.
 

arkitect

macrumors 603
Sep 5, 2005
5,910
5,462
Bath, United Kingdom
Other than the ewww factor, I don't think it's so much the urine that is worrying but the aerated fecal particles.
aerated fecal particles
Now there's something you don't hear every day. :D

Maybe I just like to live dangerously but that flushing the loo might endanger anyone's health has never even occurred to me.

It's people over the years avoiding germs and types of foods that have caused so many allergies and pandemics.

I'm not saying don't wash your hands but hell if ur kid comes in covered in mud with a cut don't rush them to the er for a jab.
I like your way of thinking. :)
That's pretty much how I grew up. But then again, back in the Mud Age that was all we had to play with.
 

Melrose

Suspended
Dec 12, 2007
7,807
392
I heard the peeing on your feet can cure athlete's foot.
Peeing in a wound is supposed to sterilize it too, but I'll pass on that one...

And they also found that a toilet seat is one of the cleanest things in your house:
That report leaves out the important question: what type of germs.

I'd rather have old kitchen counter germs than toilet-related germs.

OP: Don't read any books by David Bodanis. You wouldn't ever sleep again.