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The Toilet Seat: Sit On It!

Updated on October 1, 2020

Toilet seat wars

Ah, the toilet seat. Such an issue of controversy between men and women. One gender likes it up, the other down. Makes sense if you consider it's usage. However, the problem of up and down continues to plague relationships between the sexes, especially those who co-habitate.

I, for one, don't care. If I find a toilet seat up, I lower it as needed. I see that my partner does the same. If he finds it down, he raises it. There has never been a conversation about what condition the other leaves the toilet seat in. In this house, there is never an argument for or against the position of the toilet seat. This is great because once you leave the house, you must contend with the public toilet seat. And there lies a problem.

Public Toilets

The public restroom (or washroom for those of us in Canada) is where the issue sits. American restrooms in particular.

In the ladies room, we find paper liners for the toilet seat. "Provided by the management for your protection" the cardboard dispenser reads. The idea is to take the liner, place it on the seat and provide a physical barrier to what ever germs might be lurking on the surface of the seat. Sounds simple enough, and I have been known to use those liners in my life. When they weren't available, I would carefully line the rim of the toilet seat with toilet paper, lest my delicate and healthy skin touch any kind of nasty germs the last lady left behind.

Fast forward.

I moved to a small town in Canada, along the Sunshine Coast. Here, public toilets are without paper liners for the seats. That's right! Every woman places her bare bottom on the actual plastic seat and sits to do her business. The thought of placing toilet paper down never occurred to me. The fact of the matter is, the toilets in Canada are seemingly very clean.

In America, it appears to be a common practice for women to squat over the toilet to avoid sitting on the seat. This action promotes the wetting of the seat as it is nearly impossible for a woman to guide her urine stream. Why does this happen? Time and time again, I have entered a restroom stall to find the near oval seat dribbled on, sprayed or completed soiled. At that time, it is a decision whether to wipe the seat off with toilet paper then line it three times with the complementary paper liners, or just walk into the next stall (and breath hold since one never knows what they might find!)

In Canada, I've never seen urine on the seat. There are no paper liners, nothing to indicate the toilet seat is unsanitary. Women just sit, waste goes into the toilet bowl, and voila! A clean seat.

Stop the paper waste and sit your butt down!

I have come to the conclusion that the paper liners that are provided for "our" protection are convincing women that toilet seats are dirty and promote illness. I believe that the box of liners in the toilet stall make women think about what they can do to completely remove the chance of contamination. Hence, squat above the seat and make zero contact. The reality is, there is little evidence that disease is transferred by toilet seat. Conditions would have to be perfect; that is, the last person would have had to leave infectious material on the seat through an open wound or sore, and you would have to also have an open wound or sore to pick it up. Chances are slim that it could happen in a time frame that allows the pathogen to live long enough for you to pick it up.

You have a better chance of getting sick from touching the door handle. The best defense against illness is washing your hands thoroughly after using the restroom. Especially after touching the flusher!

Save the paper, sit your butt down and wash your hands after using the toilet. If we all sit perhaps the next time you enter a toilet stall, you'll find the seat pleasantly dry.


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