To ensure hygiene, many people place toilet paper on the toilet seat. You can read why you shouldn’t do this in future here.

Public toilets can be very disgusting. Who hasn’t faced the situation of opening the toilet door and having to struggle between need and aversion? Because you never know who’s already sat there.

The solution seems obvious: a little toilet paper on the seat and you create a barrier between your body and germs, thanks to which you don’t come into contact with the “splashes” of your predecessor – at least that’s the theory.

But the truth is quite different. A layer of toilet paper on the toilet in no way protects against germs. On the contrary, it increases exposure to bacteria.

Why you should never put toilet paper on a toilet seat

For a long time, toilet seats were thought to be full of germs that could cause gastrointestinal illness or worse. But toilet seats are cleverly designed. Their special shape and particularly smooth surface prevent germs from attaching themselves. The same cannot be said of toilet paper.

While (almost) everyone flushes the toilet after using it, very few actually lower the lid. In some public toilets, this isn’t even possible, because there’s no lid. As a result, germs spread throughout the room, including on the toilet paper. Unlike the toilet seat, toilet paper is an ideal gathering place for all kinds of germs, as bacteria can easily settle on its surface. And it’s precisely this germ-infested toilet paper that you touch with your hands, and perhaps even later, unknowingly, on your face. You’re giving germs easy access to your body.

The same goes for the faucet and the hand dryer. The tap is used by people who have just relieved themselves, so it’s a real germ magnet. And you touch it again after washing your hands.

The same applies to hand dryers: one study revealed that electric hand dryers spread a large quantity of bacteria around the room. On the one hand, because they swirl the air in the room, dispersing germs. Secondly, there are often residual germs on the hand after washing. Hand dryers don’t get rid of them, but disperse them even more. As a general rule, the stronger the airflow, the greater the risk of germs. The best alternative is paper towels. They remove far more germs.

These are good reasons to take a critical look at the toilet paper rather than the seat, and to avoid putting it on the seat. If you want to be on the safe side, squat down without touching the toilet seat, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.