Have You Ever Considered That You’re Using The Bathroom Wrong?

While you waste precious time covering the seat with toilet paper, the real threat is that dirty stall door.

Relieving oneself is perhaps the most universal of experiences. Everybody, as they say, poops. Which makes it surprising to think that we might be doing it wrong. But whether it’s aiming down, rather than back, when using a urinal–which can lead to the problem of the dreaded “splashback”, or sitting upright on a toilet when our bodies are designed to squat, there are common bathroom mistakes that human beings are known to make.


The good people at AsapSCIENCE–the YouTube series that explains in plain language, with snappy animations, some of the basic scientific principles that govern our lives–want you to know that one of the earlier public bathroom lessons you were probably taught is a total waste of time. Covering the toilet seat before you go, it turns out, is unnecessary.

While you don’t want to sit on an obviously disgusting toilet, in their latest video–“Should You Hover Or Cover The Toilet Seat?”–they explain that, “if it passes the sight test,” you should feel okay about sitting down. While there is plenty of bacteria on a toilet seat, there’s already a fine barrier there to keep it from giving you problems: your skin.

Furthermore, the sort of insignificant, invisible micro-bacteria that exists on a toilet seat also exists on pretty much every other surface in a bathroom, so you’d be much better served using a tissue when opening and closing the bathroom doors, since your fingers tend to go more places than your butt.

Of course, if you’re still bothered by all of this, AsapSCIENCE recommends you consider hovering over the seat, which is at least something of a core workout. Of course hovering, in the ladies’ room, can lead to the dreaded splashback, essentially making squatters their own worst enemy. Which means that if you’re using a toilet in public, you should probably just go ahead and use the toilet in public. It’ll all work out–that’s science talking.


About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.