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COVID-19 and Public Restrooms

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There has been some discussion recently regarding Toilet Plumes and COVID-19. Studies have long shown that there is a “plume” of water that is expelled upward when a toilet flushes and some bits of feces (and whatever bacteria/viruses that are in that fecal matter) can be aerosolized or land on surfaces. This could exacerbate the transmission of COVID-19. Some studies have shown that 60% of coronavirus patients had viral particles in their feces.

most public restrooms do not have lids installed

So why aren’t there seats on our public toilets? Wouldn’t that help? Sure, if one were to actually put the lid down before flushing. Would you touch a toilet lid in a public restroom?

Perhaps it’s helpful also to review what toilet seats are intended to do. They are there to sit on if you are trimming your toenails, applying cosmetics, etc. They are there to prevent foreign objects from accidentally falling in (towels, extra TP, hand soap, your phone, etc.) And they prevent odors from coming out after use. Those purposes are not necessary in a public setting. And it will likely be abused, (jumped on, graffitied, peed on, etc.) so, from a cost-benefit standpoint, they were rarely installed.

From what we are hearing from our distributors, this could be changing. Many business owners are now looking for lidded seats for commercial toilets.

but perhaps lids on toilets will become the “new normal?”

So now, in the Pandemic Age, it becomes a balance question: what’s more risky? touching a lid that may have been peed on or an unimpeded toilet plume? 80% of the plume will be contained if you put the lid down before flushing. So, put those lids down (at home too!)

If you find yourself in need of a public restroom – lid or no – come prepared. Wear a mask and wash your hands thoroughly. Touch as we surfaces as possible. Grab a square or two of TP and use it like a glove for things like the stall door, the toilet handle, and the toilet lid (if it’s there). The fewer items you come into contact with, the less risk of transmission. Oh, and skip the hand dryer


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