The Common Toilet Mistake You’re Likely Making Every Time You Flush

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Those germy, microscopic water droplets that spray everywhere after a toilet is flushed are known as toilet plume aerosol (via Aerosol Science Technology), or aerosol plume. Dental Health Colorado shared an experiment on YouTube using a residential toilet to determine just how far water droplets, big and small, can travel after flushing. The experimenter poured ultraviolet liquid in the toilet, allowing the larger splashed water droplets to be easily visible under black light after flushing.

How far did the large water droplets travel? About 2 feet away from the toilet. The microscopic aerosolized droplets traveled even farther — three times farther, to be specific. This means they can easily come in contact with anything on the bathroom counter, including your toothbrush. Yuck! The plumes also hovered in the air for over an hour.

In addition to urine and feces, aerosol plumes can contain airborne infectious diseases, including norovirus and coronavirus (via American Journal of Infection Control). What’s worse is that these pathogens can survive on the floor, toilet seat, counter, and other surfaces for months. With that in mind, there’s one additional step you should take if you want to more effectively prevent the spread of germs from your toilet.

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