Doctor Issues Warning Against Flushing Toilet With The Lid Up

Credit: @dr.karanr/TikTok & Alamy

A doctor is advising people not to flush the toilet while the lid is still up. 

While it may seem like no harm is being done, a doctor is now advising people to change their toilet flushing ways.

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A survey conducted by the toilet cleaning brand Harpic – via The Independent – says 55 per cent of UK adults don’t close the lid when flushing the toilet.

When those who took part in the survey were asked their reasons for not keeping the lid closed, the main answers were having no idea of the risks (47 per cent), not wanting to touch the lid (24 per cent) and generally forgetting to do so (15 per cent).

After being made aware of the risks, 2,000 respondents (95 per cent) said they would start closing the toilet lid.

Person flushing toilet.
A doctor is advising people not to flush the toilet while the lid is still up. Credit: Alamy

A research and development associate at Harpic tells The Independent: “There has never been a more important time to take extra care around our homes, although the risks associated with germ spread in unhygienic bathrooms are high, the solution to keeping them clean is simple.”

Research has found that when you leave the toilet lid open after flushing, you’re exposing yourself to thousands of tiny aerosol droplets – which may contain bacteria and viruses and contaminate surfaces up to six feet away.

To investigate what happens when you leave the toilet lid up, Harpic used high-speed specialist camera technology to capture the droplets and particles leaving the toilet.

The images captured multiple droplets flying out of the toilet – which in a different setting could land onto surfaces and even into the faces of those in the bathroom.

Dr Karan discussing toilet germs.
TikTok’s Dr Karan Rajan is also advising people to close the toilet lid when flushing. Credit: @dr.karanr/TikTok

Bathroom City elaborates, explaining: “These particles will easily spread if you don’t close the toilet lid before flushing. Some of these particles are shot up to 5ft and linger in the air for several minutes.

“They can zoom directly into your face, settle on your skin, or even land on various objects – such as your toothbrush, shaving razor, and towel – inside the bathroom.”

Meanwhile, TikTok‘s Dr Karan Rajan has further explained why you should only ever flush the toilet once the lid is shut.

In a viral video, he explains that every time you flush the toilet with the lid open, you’re creating a ‘raging sewage volcano’.

The doctor elaborates further, sharing how scientists have used technology – such as lasers and cameras – to capture this ‘disgusting tidal wave’.

Person cleaning toilet.
It’s important to make sure your bathroom and toilet are regularly cleaned. Credit: Alamy

However, not all experts feel that closing the toilet lid will make that much difference.

Microbiologist Charles Gerba and his research team at the University of Arizona have argued that there’s little difference whether you leave the lid up or down.

In a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, via USA Today, researchers concluded that microscopic particles still spread to the floor and nearby surfaces when a person flushes – regardless of whether the lid is up or down.

“A lot of people said all you have to do is close the lid and the problem is solved,” Gerba says. “All that air when you flush goes somewhere, and it carries the viruses that are in the toilet bowl out of it.”

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The study found that the only effective way to reduce the spread of pathogens is to properly clean and disinfect the toilet and toilet water, as well as nearby surfaces.

Thankfully, Harpic has listed ways to help keep your bathroom as clean as possible.

The cleaning brand suggests closing the lid when flushing (of course), using a toilet cleaner that removes limescale, disinfecting, and wearing gloves while cleaning for ‘extra protection’ – oh, and washing your hands too!

@dr.karanr Shut the lid! @💉 Dr Charles MD 💉 ♬ original sound – Dr Karan Raj

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.