What Not To Do After You Flush a Public Toilet

By Josh Bloom — May 04, 2021
It takes all kinds. Although some of us like to hang around after we flush a public toilet it is not recommended. There's even an article with an explanation (as if we need one). Plus, some other questionable activities that probably should be avoided.
Better pick another table. Photo: Flicker

I just can't pass up a title like this. No way. Yet, there it was...










"The One Thing You Should Never Do After You Flush, New Study Says"

Allie Hogan writing for BestLife, 4/20/21

Nonetheless, the BestLife article does contain some tips that are supposed to keep you healthy. 

Ms. Hogan writes "A new study out of Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) College of Engineering and Computer Science found that you shouldn't linger after flushing a toilet or urinal because aerosolized droplets do."

I must admit that I'm a bit perplexed at why this is an issue. Going into a public toilet is a ghastly enough experience (especially during Covid), that your average sane person can't possibly get out of there fast enough. Let's deal with the urinals first. In Grand Central Station, perhaps the nastiest restroom in NYC, it would be highly unusual to see anyone linger at a urinal. Most of us are running for the exit while still zipping up. But given the layout of public men's rooms, it really doesn't matter. No matter how fast you go rocketing out of there you have company. The deadly "Men's Room Miasma" will get you anyhow.

Leaving Urinal #1 is a perilous undertaking. You may avoid your own droplets, but terrors are everywhere. Photo: Wikipedia

So in most cases, there isn't much you can do to avoid urinal-based miasma, which is probably no big deal because, for the most part, the spread of microbes from urine is rare.

So, if #1 isn't that bad, what about #2?

The toilet. Bad. 

A study in the journal Physics and Fluids makes for a splendid dinnertime conversation:

Flushing a toilet can generate large quantities of microbe-containing aerosols depending on the design, water pressure or flushing power of the toilet. A variety of pathogens are usually found in stagnant water as well as in urine, feces and vomit. When dispersed widely through aerosolization, these pathogens can cause Ebola, norovirus that results in violent food poisoning, as well as COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2. [Emphasis added]

Lovely. Just in case your dining preferences include the following you should rethink matters...

The service ain't so great either.


Since dining in a public toilet is unacceptable I can't help but wonder if there are other activities you should avoid. A few possibilities...

1. Snorkeling

My snorkeling expedition with Alex Berezow did not go well. 

Original photo: Flickr


2. Attend a Performance of Swan Lake

The Tchaikovsky masterpiece was proceeding splendidly until a misstep caused the Black Swan to disappear. Later it was reported that she was transported to the North River Sewage Treatment Plant in Harlem and then flushed into the Hudson River. She was last seen sitting on a beach in Bora Bora munching on a bean sprout. Fortunately, the understudy Brown Swan performed admirably and the show went on. 

Original photo: Pxhere


3. Massage therapy

Although it is unlikely that the following accounts for the majority of therapy sessions, if your appointment is in a place like this it's probably time to look elsewhere. 

Photo: Flickr

That's all I got. Feel free to contribute any other idiotic ideas. Can you beat this? 

Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Recent articles by this author:
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