I remember a bit of folklore that suggested it was more hygienic to put the lid (that's the lid on the seat) down after use. Is this the case?

  • This has a bit of 'it depends' involved I suspect. Is this a two-gender set-up? Because if it were just male use, at least some of the time (one urination followed by another urination), it would seem to be more hygienic to leave the lid up. Why touch a bacteria covered lid if you don't need to?
    – user2466
    May 14, 2011 at 18:34
  • 2
  • @Martin: Well there you go! Learn something new every day. From your link, "Gerba defines a sanitary surface as something clean enough to eat off of, with no more than 1,000 bacteria per square inch. The toilet seat passed that test..." Having said that, the reason given is that it's an area people don't want to touch: "Really the cleanest areas in the bathroom are actually the door handle and the toilet seat [...] because those are the two spots people fear and avoid the most." :)
    – user2466
    May 14, 2011 at 19:06
  • Oh, this is not gender-specific. It is a case of being male and just depositing from one's anus. The leaving the lavy seat up is another question.
    – Phil Helix
    May 14, 2011 at 20:02
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    I don't have the links with me so will just leave this as a comment, but the results of a study a few years ago indicated that putting the lid down before flushing did help to reduce aerosol dispersion of small (but measurable amounts of bacteria from the toilet.
    – Rory Alsop
    May 15, 2011 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


Yes, if you close the lid before you flush.

This topic was report by Karl S. Kruszelnicki, a noted skeptic, science reporter and popular-science author in Australia. He cited Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona, who has published on the topic.

If you flush with the lid up, a polluted plume of bacteria and water vapour erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl.

Unfortunately, Dr Karl (as he is known) did not provide a detailed reference.

  • So you won't see, whether flushing was successful. Is it more hygienic for the user, or for the next user, or both? Sounds like 'next user' to me. But "closing the lid while flushing" would allow to open the lid for controlling (if it isn't transparent) and then you could keep the lid open, couldn't you? Jan 2, 2012 at 4:29
  • @userunknown: Sure, I guess so. That wasn't covered.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 2, 2012 at 5:34
  • Personal anecdotage, it does mean cleaning the lid and seat more often because the gunk builds up. But you should probably be doing that anyhow. Sep 22, 2014 at 11:57

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