A tacky topic, is it? However tacky it may sound, it is important to discuss this. So, let’s take you through a toilet tour today ☺.
We all, I guess, as a habit, are very cautious about the cleaning of the toilets and bathrooms at our homes. Using a powerful and fragrant cleansing agent, scrubbing, and wiping the washrooms, is almost a part of our daily routine, and rightfully so. However, how many of us think about disinfecting our toilet seats and the area as a whole? Not many, right? The recent aura of the spread of infections, viruses, and contagious diseases, has definitely sprung up the thought of toilets being a hub of dirt, contamination, and ultimately infectious diseases.
The idea of the existence of such infectivity in public toilets is even more daunting! A public toilet not only seats you but also millions of germs. It is natural to use public convenience when outside, however finding a clean one at times becomes a task. Even though some appear to be clean, hygiene issues might bother you.
What can be the most ‘unhygienic’ parts of a toilet?
Well, practically everything! Especially when using a public toilet, you are not the only one using it – hundreds use, sit, touch, and may leave or carry germs along. Also worth remembering, even after using a washroom, you get outside and touch/use many other things/people, thus continuing the ‘spreading’ legacy!
- Toilet Seat
Toilet seats are something we directly sit on and being paranoid about its hygiene is understandable. Pathogens like staphylococcus, hepatitis, streptococcus, E.coli, STD, etc., easily find their place on these seats. Some people also squat on toilet seats, probably to safeguard themselves but leave behind a lot more germs for others. Footwears are a hot spot of dangerous microorganisms. According to a study, more than 90% of shoes carry fecal bacteria that can cause severe infections like pneumonia. Hence, don’t squat on the seats, instead use them the way they are meant to be. Some toilets have toilet seat covers, which, if used correctly, can provide you the required protection; you may also carry your own toilet cover or use tissues instead; however, this could be rather cumbersome and not an easy-to-remember-always-carry-thing.
Yes, a toilet flush is the second-most scary thing after its seat. Everyone uses (and must use) a flush after using the loo, and hence the hand touching of the same is a germ-carrier. Again, don’t be macho using shoes or other accessories to touch and use it. At max, you can use a tissue and do the honors.
Another thing that is a source of cleaning, but touching it gives a filthy feeling. You may, again, pick a tissue in this case and then use.
- Washroom knob
A doorknob or latch is something we are not that worried about, it is on the outside, and even if inside, we just casually use it without thinking of it as a pathogen-space. However, it is! It is touched the same number of times by the same number of people (or more) as a flush or faucet. Hence, when we think about cleanliness and hygiene, it is required to make a note of a knob as well.
What can I do to ensure a germ-free toilet?
Earlier, we talked about using tissues for almost everything. Yet, how feasible and practical is that?
Some of the problematic questions of entirely relying on tissue paper while using toilets:
- Are they available every time in all Indian toilets?
- Will you always remember to carry them along?
- Isn’t using paper in such glaring numbers a threat to the environment?
So, in a nutshell, not a solution. ⊗
In my experience and as per our current lifestyle, using a disinfectant/sanitizer would be the solution to most of our problems. Let’s see how.
- Always carry a handy sanitizer bottle along in your purse/bag/pocket when you move out of your home. This shouldn’t be burdensome, as we all have been used to this habit for the past few months. It would be better, if you always keep one in your travel purse or kit so that there is no scope of forgetting it.
- While entering or exiting from a washroom, pour/spray a drop of it on the knob and then touch it.
- While using the toilet, use the disinfectant to disinfect the toilet seat.
- The same disinfectant could be used on flush, faucet, etc., before using them with hands.
- After you are done, never ever forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water (there is no substitute for it). Dry your hands using a tissue and then move out. It is essential to dry yourself, as wet surfaces/hands carry more infections than dry ones. Toilets usually have tissue papers and hand dryers for this purpose. To be on the safe side, carry with you a small handkerchief or hand towel for the same. It is good to sanitize your hands post that for double protection. However, you might want to choose a natural, non-alcoholic, and chemical-free sanitizer for this purpose.
I think we all can guess a solution to our worries – #GetSterlocked.
Besides the above discussed ‘exposed’ points, a sanitizer-cum-disinfectant should be used for the overall disinfection of toilets and bathrooms. The floor, walls, outside of cupboards, dustbins, other used things like a bucket, mugs, handles, soap dispensers, basins, etc., could very well be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected, thus ensuring safety.
Let’s try to be safe wherever we can!
Avani Raj Arora