Are there dangers in using an uncovered public toilet seat?
July 28, 2006 11:18 AM   Subscribe

My friend is shocked to learn I don't make a "nest" when I use a public restroom. Are there any real dangers to sitting on a uncovered toilet seat which has been used by others?
posted by matkline to Health & Fitness (73 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
There is a very real danger of getting other people's pee and poo on you. Is that not enough?
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 11:19 AM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is from an advice column at MIT, and quotes a doctor there (not a prof there, just a doc in Student Health): ""It's very difficult to get sick from a toilet seat," Heller says adamantly. "This is especially true for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)," he adds. (Hmmm… apparently, there's a reason they're referred to as sexually transmitted.) However, Heller notes, "a little extra caution might be warranted if one is traveling in an area where enteric infections like cholera are more common."

But for most diseases, Heller continues, "toilet seat transmission" would require the unlikely coincidence of two factors: 1) the presence of a sufficient number of germs to cause illness, and 2) a way for those germs on the seat to get into your urethra, genital tract, or blood stream. Interestingly enough, the first condition may be even more unlikely than the second. Microbiologists studying bacterial concentrations in offices found, in every case, that toilet seats were, by far, the cleanest surfaces of any sampled-a whopping 50 times cleaner than phone receivers, which were the filthiest. (High germ counts were also found on office desktops, the computer keyboard, and the mouse.) "
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:22 AM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


previously
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:23 AM on July 28, 2006


I've seen several sites and shows tackle this issue and in the end, the tissue paper is just there to make you feel like you're doing something to protect yourself. The risk with and without it is zero difference.
posted by mathowie at 11:27 AM on July 28, 2006


Crab lice can be transfered thios way
posted by Raybun at 11:35 AM on July 28, 2006


Sounds like you're better off using the tp you would make a nest with to give the seat a good wipedown.
posted by wsg at 11:36 AM on July 28, 2006


As long as the seat area where it touches you is completely dry, you are fine. Yet that doesn't stop me from freaking out.
posted by convex at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2006


Second what everyone else says. I'm not a nest maker and I firmly believe that there is little to no risk, based on things I've read, from sitting on a dry seat. OTOH I've also felt that for some people it's a relative risk case, like they don't believe there is a real risk but if there were one (which they're not sure of) then they'd rather be safer than all the schmucks who don't make nests. So, my general feeling is that people put TP on the seat to protect themselves from ME, and I guess I'm okay with that.

Also, in women's rooms there is often pee on the seat because paranoid (yeah, you heard me) women who aren't even satisfied with nests HOVER and then PEE all over the seat and for some reason won't even touch their own pee to clean up after themselves.
posted by jessamyn at 11:42 AM on July 28, 2006


You are not going to get sick by sitting on a toilet seat. If the seat is dirty, then either wipe it off or line it with toilet paper. If you're paranoid of diseases that you're most likely not going to get, then line the toilet seat with toilet paper anyway.

However, whatever you do, don't squat. Please, don't squat. The germophobes who try to hover over the seat and sprinkle their pee everywhere are the ones who make public bathrooms dirty and disgusting for everyone else. It's inconsiderate, disgusting, and just downright idiotic. If no one did the squatting, then most public restrooms would be far cleaner than they usually are.

That said, you're most likely not going to catch anything, especially because everything in any restroom is covered by bacteria from the toilet anyway (see the Mythbusters episode "Toilet Surprise"). Toilet paper, squatting, or bare ass on the seat, most likely you've touched poopy bacteria anyway. Wash your hands and don't lick the toilet handle.
posted by tastybrains at 11:44 AM on July 28, 2006


Wash your hands and don't lick the toilet handle.

That said, if you have to be told this, toilet-seat-transmitted-diseases (TSTDs?) are probably not your biggest concern.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:50 AM on July 28, 2006


If the seat is dry (and that's easy to do with some TP even if it's a little wet), you're safe.

3.5 billion years of evolution has made it safe to go relieve one's self without contracting an infection or disease. Even a moderately unclean public restroom has to be a lot cleaner than what the human race had been using for eons before now. People in our society are really germ-phobic, and chemical and paper companies make bank on those fears.

I'm not a scientist, but I think a little common sense goes a long way here. If it's so dirty you think you might get sick from it, you probably wouldn't even think of using it in the first place.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:51 AM on July 28, 2006


Sounds like this issue has been more or less resolved. I'm just laughing at the use of the term "making a nest" to refer to what one does (or doesn't do, as it were) to a toilet seat.

...move along...
posted by jckll at 11:54 AM on July 28, 2006


Also, in women's rooms there is often pee on the seat because paranoid (yeah, you heard me) women who aren't even satisfied with nests HOVER and then PEE all over the seat

Why the hell don't they put the seat up?

Same question for guys with piss shiver.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:54 AM on July 28, 2006


I'd never even heard of 'nests' until now. Thanks for broadening my mind.
posted by altolinguistic at 11:56 AM on July 28, 2006


I'll wipe the seat down or use another toilet if it looks too dirty. I'm a guy for the record.
posted by JJ86 at 11:56 AM on July 28, 2006


"Nesting" is irritating because sometimes in my public-ish restroom at work, women don't remove it when they're done. This blows my mind.
posted by unknowncommand at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2006


It's stupid, because anything that's there can soak through. I just make a big ball of paper and wipe around the seat with it. I do this not because I'm scared of disease, but because I have no desire to sit down on a wet seat, and you can't always see wetness just by looking.
posted by reklaw at 12:18 PM on July 28, 2006


What if there is some urine or stool on the seat and you sit on it? You'll get urine or stool on your butt.

Your butt is not a permeable membrane. The germs will stay on the outside of you even if your butt does touch some. Not that there is likely to be much in urine; urine from a healthy human is sterile and perfectly safe to drink, let alone touch to your ass.

Toilet seats conveniently have a hole in the middle of them, such that the bits that are vulnerable (e.g. your urinary and reproductive tracts) do not ever touch the seat. Coincidentally this big hole also theoretically insures that the urine and stool don't touch the seat either, unless one does not actually use the seat as intended.
posted by kindall at 12:22 PM on July 28, 2006


<Frist>And you can get AIDS from tears and sweat.</Frist>

You will not get sick from a toilet seat, people. Provided you're not plopping down onto a shit-covered seat with open sores all over your booty (get that looked at), you'll be fine.

You might not want to read this article if you think toilet seats are dirty.
posted by symphonik at 12:24 PM on July 28, 2006


And can I just do a little derail for a moment to have a word with the women who use a paper towel to open the door leading out of the restrooms...and then let the paper towel just drop on the floor, behind the door?

Gals, a) that's just rude, and b) if you think there are scary germs on that door handle, do you suppose they just disappea by the time people arrive at and use all the OTHER door handles in the world?
posted by TochterAusElysium at 12:26 PM on July 28, 2006


Sometimes the drops on the seat come from splashes when the toilet is flushed.
posted by i_cola at 12:29 PM on July 28, 2006


Crab lice can be transfered thios way
posted by Raybun at 11:35 AM PST on July 28


Wrong. While theoretically possible, it is extremely unlikely. Why would a lice, while perfectly happy in the warm and blood rich home of your body, go hang out on a cold, hard toilet seat? People who told you they got crabs from a toilet seat just don't want to admit their sexual misadventures.
posted by sophist at 12:30 PM on July 28, 2006


Oddly, this was on some yahoo think that someone forwarded around the office yesterday. [Do toilet seat covers provide any real protection?]
posted by GrumpyMonkey at 12:33 PM on July 28, 2006


Renton didn't seem to mind, and he wound up OK, right?
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2006


I want to second that the women who hover above the toilet make things really disgusting for the rest of us. As do those who make no attempt to dispose of the cover that they've just used. YUCK. Just plonk your arse down girls.

I don't think I ever saw a toilet seat cover until I came to the US. Not that common in public restrooms in the UK.

For those worried about crabs the CDC has this to say:

A common misunderstanding is that infestation can be spread by sitting on a toilet seat. This isn't likely, since lice cannot live long away from a warm human body. Also, lice do not have feet designed to walk or hold onto smooth surfaces such as toilet seats.
posted by kar120c at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2006


Dirty toilet seats give you a horrible disease, but they may give you butt zits.
posted by redteam at 12:41 PM on July 28, 2006


all hail tastybrains. I feel like bathrooms are more befouled by women attempting to avoid germs than those who don't care. Splattered seats, 'nests' on the ground...just wipe down the toilet seat, wash your hands and calm down.
posted by clairezulkey at 12:52 PM on July 28, 2006


I won't date a woman who hovers or nests.
posted by FlamingBore at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2006


What an awesome thread!

When I was just a lad, my grandmother told me that you could catch a rash if you don't put TP on the TS. Years later, in a fit of laughter, my wife coined the term "The Terrible Butt-Cheek Rash," in reaction to this little bit of family mythology. Now, whenever we hear a implausable source of disease, we're likely to exclaim "Oh no, you'll get the Terrible Butt-Cheek Rash!"

On a side note, The Texas Building and Procurement Department equips its restrooms with disposable toilet seat covers. My tax dollars at work.
posted by elderling at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2006


For no useful reason whatsoever, I'd like to mention the difficulty for men who have to do the 1+2 while, er, erect. Disease or no, one does not wish to touch one's pee-pee to any part of the toilet.
posted by fleacircus at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


I just want to repeat to women who hover:
put the seat up.
It's called a seat because you sit on it. If you're not going to sit, then put the seat up and hover over the bowl.

I sit on public toilets so long as they are not covered in pee from previous germophobic ladies, which most in NY are. It is annoying and a real waste of toilet paper.
posted by mdn at 1:08 PM on July 28, 2006


fleacircus: How often does the problem of having to sit down on the toilet (read: #2 or prison bitch) "while, er, erect" come up in your everyday existence? Do you find yourself with the irresistable urge to move your bowels during sex?

I can commiserate with the tragedy that results from the perfect storm of morning wood and full bladder, but the simple solution is just wait for a minute or two until he calms down. But having to #2 with an erection? Don't think that's high on the list of male problems...
posted by jckll at 1:12 PM on July 28, 2006


I don't use seat protectors because I think they will prevent me from getting a disease, I use them because I don't like sitting my ass and putting my privates that close to where 500 other people have also sat their business that day. Maybe what's on that seat won't make me sick, but it's bacteria all the same, and I'd rather not sit on some strangers ass sweat, germs and invisible flecks of pee regardless of whether it's contagious or not.

There's nothing wrong with putting a barrier between your skin and a surface that can't possibly be all that clean unless it was just scrubbed right before you sat on it.
posted by RoseovSharon at 1:16 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Toilet seats conveniently have a hole in the middle of them, such that the bits that are vulnerable (e.g. your urinary and reproductive tracts) do not ever touch the seat. Coincidentally this big hole also theoretically insures that the urine and stool don't touch the seat either, unless one does not actually use the seat as intended.

Unfortunately, this doesn't address the issue of guys who, in an incredible display of defying the laws of physics, manage to shit under the toilet seat. Still mindblowing..
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:23 PM on July 28, 2006


If the seat's dry, I sit on it. If there's any kind of wetness on it, I'll wipe it down with paper. When I've finished peeing, if, when I stand, I leave a little drip, I wipe it off and make sure the seat is dry for the next person.

The first time I saw a toilet seat cover was in the US. Such things don't exist in the UK (as far as I know, and I've been in plenty of toilets, from the Savoy Hotel to the sleaziest pub in Canning Town). I suspect that toilet-seat prissiness is a peculiarly American thing.
posted by essexjan at 1:23 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


One thing that drives me apeshit is when guys pee standing without putting the seat up. Really, is it that hard to flip it up with your foot? There have been countless times I've been waiting to #2 and wait for some guy to come out of the stall, only to find urine all over it. Makes me want to smack him upside the head.
That said, it's not the diseases I'm worries about- it's the icky, slightly moist feeling on your buttocks than can still be there even after wiping the seat down.
posted by jmd82 at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2006


That said, it's not the diseases I'm worries about- it's the icky, slightly moist feeling on your buttocks than can still be there even after wiping the seat down.

Yeah, and not to mention that when you wipe the seat down, all you're really doing is spreading around whatever was there in the first place. Smearing it around doesn't make the stuff any less there, it just makes it so that it's now everywhere instead of just in one spot.
posted by RoseovSharon at 1:39 PM on July 28, 2006


I work with some of the most disgusting sons-o-bitches on the planet. You cannot enter our restroom without immediately puking. Every single time, however, these degenerates grab a toilet seat protector before heading into the stall with a book/magazine/cell phone. When they're done, there's shit all over the bowl, on the wall, the floor, the ceiling - everywhere except for the squeaky clean ring on the topside of the toilet seat where the protector was...
posted by daveleck at 1:45 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and not to mention that when you wipe the seat down, all you're really doing is spreading around whatever was there in the first place. Smearing it around doesn't make the stuff any less there, it just makes it so that it's now everywhere instead of just in one spot.

Except that you're being paranoid and that there is nothing on the seat that is actually going to harm you in any way shape or form.

Ladies, get over it! I am so sick of people who defend squatting. There is no reason for it, and more often than not it results in pee sprinkles for everyone else.
posted by tastybrains at 1:49 PM on July 28, 2006


"And can I just do a little derail for a moment to have a word with the women who use a paper towel to open the door leading out of the restrooms...and then let the paper towel just drop on the floor, behind the door? "

I can assure you this kind of antisocial behaviour isn't restricted to women.
posted by Mitheral at 1:56 PM on July 28, 2006


I love that I know women who keep the dirtiest homes will not sit on a toilet seat that appears clean and dry. That just cracks my, erm... $hit, up.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:02 PM on July 28, 2006


I was surprised recently to see that the toilet stalls at O'Hare Airport have a machine which installs a new toilet seat cover each time someone enters the toilet space (you may have to wave in front of something so the stall sees you). I'd never seen that before.
posted by spira at 2:04 PM on July 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


My high school biology teacher did an entire lecture on why you should use a paper towel to open the door. He felt you should just drop the paper on the floor. However, I just take it with me and throw it away at the nearest garbage can.

However, I am unconvinced of the dangers of using a public toilet. I can see the dangers of touching the faucet, doors, etc. But I just don't see how germs realistically go from the seat to anywhere from which illness might ensue.
posted by acoutu at 2:05 PM on July 28, 2006


I carry a small pack of Lysol antibacterial wipes in my backpack/briefcase for just these occasions. Totally worth it to never again have to worry about not finding a decently clean toilet.
posted by jtfowl0 at 2:07 PM on July 28, 2006


Except that you're being paranoid and that there is nothing on the seat that is actually going to harm you in any way shape or form.

Read my first post. The issue is not paranoia about disease but rather a simple matter of not wanting to get anyone elses business on my own, regardless of whether it's infectious or not.

Why do people here seem so against toilet seat protectors? Fine if you don't want to use one but why are folks here so against those who do? I don't think it qualifies me as being paranoid to not want to sit directly on someone else's piss, shit and menstrual blood leftovers.
posted by RoseovSharon at 2:10 PM on July 28, 2006


Why do some people have this idiosyncrasy regarding public toilets? I've known women who avoid using a workplace toilet because it is "gross." One person is so particular about her house's toilet that she won't let anyone do a number two in it! I've only seen a TP nest left on a toilet seat twice in 45 years using public toilets. I've never used a toilet seat cover. If the toilet seat is wet I use TP to dry it off. There was an episode in Mythbusters (which busted the five second rule myth BTW) that physically proved that the toilet seat was the most cleanest bacteria-free zone in their entire workshop.
posted by plokent at 2:12 PM on July 28, 2006


The main risks involved with public toilets are hookworm and pinworm infection. Bacteria usually won't infect unbroken skin, and washing your hands will minimize how much bacteria is ingested when you bite your nails later.

Pinworms infections are widespread in western countries (a third to a half of all children have them), but they are as harmless as intestinal microflora. Doctors don't routinely examine for pinworm, and often don't even bother treating infections if found.

Hookworm infections are more serious but almost non-existent in western countries. Infection usually happens when you walk barefoot on ground contaminated with human feces. The parasite drills through your skin, migrates through your bloodstream to your lungs, gets coughed up, re-swallowed, passes through your gut and is excreted.
posted by randomstriker at 2:15 PM on July 28, 2006


Ladies, get over it! I am so sick of people who defend squatting. There is no reason for it, and more often than not it results in pee sprinkles for everyone else.

In a perfect world, perhaps there would be no reason for it. But if I'm in a dive bar that has unisex bathrooms and it's 3 am, my goal is to get in and out without touching anything I don't have to. If the entire bathroom is covered in pee, it's past the point of no return, and I will hover as though my life depended on it.
posted by 912 Greens at 2:15 PM on July 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Related Cecil: What diseases can you catch from the toilet seat?

"Nesting" is irritating because sometimes in my public-ish restroom at work, women don't remove it when they're done.

Perhaps they feel they're doing the next customer a favor. Any confirmation of the observation that 'hovering' in the ladies room is characteristic of certain ethnics? (I've heard Anglo girls complain about the Asians who do it.)
posted by Rash at 2:41 PM on July 28, 2006


I was surprised recently to see that the toilet stalls at O'Hare Airport have a machine which installs a new toilet seat cover each time someone enters the toilet space

Do you mean it puts one of those silly paper things over the seat? Or what? I've never seen anything like that.

Standing men and hovering women: flip the seat up first. Use your foot or grab the seat with a piece of paper. Otherwise, you're a disgusting cow.
posted by pracowity at 2:42 PM on July 28, 2006


Cheap, easy, and effective protections, small and light enough for the wallet or purse of anyone so concerned.
posted by paulsc at 2:48 PM on July 28, 2006


Do you mean it puts one of those silly paper things over the seat?


Yes, exactly that, pracowity. I saw them at O'Hare last year.
posted by essexjan at 3:38 PM on July 28, 2006


Better link here, pracowity, with pictures.
posted by essexjan at 3:41 PM on July 28, 2006


As with essexjan, I am amazed that such things as toilet seat covers are standard issue in the US. Just wipe it and get on with it!
posted by greycap at 3:45 PM on July 28, 2006


Speculation: I suspect that the mindset behind this kind of excess "hygene" actually makes people sicker, not healthier, as their immune system is kept "safe" from agents that are not sufficient in number in bathrooms to cause sickness, but would be useful and safe exposures for keeping the immune system up to date, so to speak.

I don't know whether it's cause, or whether it's effect, but the people I know who seem the most obsessed about hygene have the poorest immune systems.

posted by -harlequin- at 3:47 PM on July 28, 2006


My office just recently installed those same automatic seat covers that they have at O'Hare. I HATE them. First of all, of the 5 stalls on our floor, on any given day 3-4 of the seat cover things won't work for various reasons. Some of them just go and go and go when you activate them. And others run out of new protectors (probably because they run for too long too so they run out quickly). One of them dispenses the protector fine, but doesn't suck it in at the other end so it just bunches up on the seat.

As a woman that has no qualms about sitting down, I say that sitting on these plastic things is waaaaay more squicky than just sitting on a dry toilet seat. (That's right, it's plastic, not paper.) Plus, the seats for these things have to be thin all the way around, and are incredibly uncomfortable to sit on. You almost feel like your ass is going to fall in.

We do have automatic flushing toilets, and I really like them. My office is the only place where I find the auto flushers are perfectly calibrated to not flush while you're still sitting, but flush at exactly the right time.
posted by misskaz at 3:56 PM on July 28, 2006


I am a woman.
If I had to SQUAT or use a NEST (no idea what that is till now) I would NOT use the toilet in the first place. It boggles my mind that women can be so freakish. If you are afraid of getting a disease, wait till you get home. Stop the squatting, its disgusting.
Thank you.
posted by peglam at 4:19 PM on July 28, 2006


I find it astonishing that in two long threads on this subject, only one person has even hinted at my main reason for using ass gaskets: as a courtesy to the next person. I also find it eponysterical that the poster in question was named "Rash."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:11 PM on July 28, 2006


I can't really grasp what's so fearsome about common household bacteria. Do people honestly think that, excepting public toilets, their surroundings are even remotely sterile?

IIRC, recent research seems to indicate that the increasing prevalence of asthma and other failings of the immune system are at least partly due to our obession with cleanliness, or at least when we extend this to our children. As -harlequin- pointed out, small amounts of bacteria are crucial to developing a healthy immune system.

Of course, if you're freaked out by the possibility of having small amounts of the refuse of other people come into contact with your skin, that's plenty enough reason to nest.
posted by Zero Gravitas at 5:25 PM on July 28, 2006


Making a nest is a waste of time and paper IMO. But since we're on a bathroom topic, I have an anecdote.


One time at work my friend and I went into the ladies' room. Someone was in the middle stall so we took the stalls on either side of Ms Piggy. We know For a Fact that she dropped the kids off at the pool AND she changed her tampon. Then she flushed and walked out without washing her hands. The rest of the day we stared at everyone's feet trying to figure out who the filthy pig was. Never i.d.'ed her but we have some key suspects.
posted by Soda-Da at 6:21 PM on July 28, 2006


if you think there are scary germs on that door handle, do you suppose they just disappea by the time people arrive at and use all the OTHER door handles in the world?

Well that's why you don't touch those either.

Yay OCD.
posted by Pryde at 6:52 PM on July 28, 2006


I like seat covers.. in poorly lit bathrooms, it's easy not to notice a pee splattered seat until it's too late.. but when you set the seat cover down, you can see by how well it affixes to the seat how dry the seat is. Ideally it should practically slide into the toilet when you set it down!

It's just plain unpleasant to sit in other people's cold pee.
posted by everybody polka at 8:31 PM on July 28, 2006


Even if you're not afraid of germs, and just don't want your business where 500 people have sat, I can promise you that your ass is WAY cleaner than your hands. That's true of everybody you meet, and true even if you wash your hands several times a day.

So, if you won't sit without a gasket, does that also mean you won't shake hands without putting on gloves?
posted by willnot at 9:25 PM on July 28, 2006


pracowity: "Do you mean it puts one of those silly paper things over the seat? Or what? I've never seen anything like that."

essexjan:"Yes, exactly that, pracowity. I saw them at O'Hare last year."

Not paper, no. It's like they're encased in an endless tube of cellophane. It's really rather odd.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 9:41 PM on July 28, 2006


I've linked to this in other threads both here and mecha. Don't want to sit down? Use this, and if you're squeamish about cleaning it out--well, you clean stuff with ammonia, don't you?
posted by brujita at 12:08 AM on July 29, 2006


I'm in the camp of "pee can't hurt you", but the only person's I want to deal with is my own.
posted by brujita at 12:19 AM on July 29, 2006


I'm always astonished by the ladies that like those lovely tree-killing, pipe-clogging paper covers so much that they decide to leave it on the seat for the next person! If you're going to use them at least make sure they get flushed when you're done.

Personally, I never use them. Aside from the sheer pointlessness and waste, I'd rather wipe down a damp seat than sit on wet paper. (You all know these things are paper don't you? They're not magical liquid and germ-proof forcefields.)

This does leave me with one minor issue however. My workplace provides our multi-stall restroom with seat covers and I'm always self-conscious when others are in there because I don't make that tell-tale rustle indicating seat cover use. Many of my coworkers are medical professionals and therefore very "germ aware" (though we work in an office setting, not a medical one), so I'm worried how my lack of seat-cover usage may be perceived. Has anyone else ever considered "faking" seat cover use by sort of half pulling out a seat cover but not completely removing it from it's dispenser to satisfy both your principles and others' paranoia? (I haven't yet done it, but have definitely thought about it!)
posted by platinum at 12:22 AM on July 29, 2006


I'm with you, platinum, I often go when another co-worker goes, and they invariably use seat covers and I don't, and I have been known to wonder what they're thinking... but I came to the conclusion that it's just insane to even worry about it.

I don't squat & hover, and never use seat covers unless the seat's thoroughly befouled with piss or menses or something. If I do use them, I tear out that center bit and let it trail into the bowl so that it will flush down when I am through.

I know someone who always squatted & hovered when she went, and I always thought it was ridiculous. But I think her aim was better than most women's aim and she didn't splash all over. But maybe she did, since I never watched her closely... ew.
posted by seancake at 7:13 AM on July 29, 2006


The Infectious Disease Nurse at the local hospital does not use paper doilies under her butt. She says all the really amusing germs are small enough to crawl right through the pores in the paper. I assume she wipes the surface and I'm guessing she knows how to wash her hands.

Please, nest or don't nest according to your personal preference, but if you're going to use paper seat covers, for the love of all that's holy, take an extra 5 seconds to push the paper in with the sole of your shoe. What's that about? Are you proving to the next guy that you're so much better/cleaner/more OCD than the rest of us? When I go postal and start loading up automatic weapons, I'm going to start with those who leave their used paper seat covers for the next person to deal with.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2006


A quick pubmed search reveals to obvious infectious processes, but some definite reports of toilet seat contact dermatitis, and toilet seat penile trauma. I'm not sure if nesting would protect you from the latter.
posted by roofus at 4:27 PM on July 29, 2006


I don't think it qualifies me as being paranoid to not want to sit directly on someone else's piss, shit and menstrual blood leftovers.

IMO it does, in fact, 'qualify' you as being paranoid. Sure, hardly anybody would choose to have brief skin contact with this stuff, but how dangerous can it be? (Anybody who's changed another's diaper, and managed to live to tell the tale -- now's your turn to chime in.) Sure, exceptions for those with compromised immune systems & etc.

Florence Henderson, Raining: Actually, I was trying to be funny -- because if somebody's so paranoid that they require the ass gasket, they'd no doubt find sitting on paper that isn't certifiably fresh unacceptable (as unrepentanthippie explained).

posted by Rash at 6:03 PM on July 29, 2006


RoseovSharon, your assumption that 500 asses have been there is irrational:

Assuming: ((24*60)-10)/3 = 477 maximum total asses (rounded up) in a 24 hr. period, as a worst case scenario.

Of course, if the maximum time between cleanings (MTBC) is no more than 12 hours, then you're your looking at 12*60/3 = 240 asses.

It's also probably safe to assume that most relatively busy public toilets are only actually in use for half of their "duty cycle," leaving a mere 240/2 = 120 asses.

So, good news! For unexceptional toilets, you need only be approximately 1/4 as disgusted by strange ass!
posted by elderling at 10:06 AM on July 31, 2006


Of course, if you're freaked out by the possibility of having small amounts of the refuse of other people come into contact with your skin, that's plenty enough reason to nest.

that's plenty enough reason to stop breathing, basically.
The world's full of molecules which have been on the inside of other living things. If people used toilet seats to sit on, I don't see how any "refuse" would get on the seat, since the skin of the person would be protecting it, essentially. And if you think the skin of someone's upper thighs is covered in "refuse" you must know some very unhygenic people. In general I would say a handshake is far more intimate - but then maybe you're the sort of person who washes their hands after every handshake...
posted by mdn at 5:30 AM on August 1, 2006


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