Toilets & COVID-19: Risk of Spreading and Why You Should Flush with the Lid Down

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 , Posted by Bradhaw Plumbing

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live. We’re working from home, following social distancing protocols, wearing masks in public and taking other precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.

Obviously, there is a lot of concern about how COVID-19 is spread. People want to know where and which surfaces are higher risk so we can take actions to prevent getting infected. While some are obvious, others are not.

One area of concern is bathrooms, and toilets in particular. Whether you are using a toilet at home or in public, toilets can be a source of COVID-19 spread.

“While scientists have warned that COVID-19 can be spread by fecal-oral transmission (hence the importance of post-bathroom hand washing) the disease can also be spread through what is known as “aerosolized feces” which means that it’s more important than ever to close the lid of the toilet while flushing, according to experts,” says Alexandra Sternlicht on Forbes.

The idea that COVID-19 can spread through toilet use is reaffirmed by David A. Johnson, MD on He states:

 “Turning our attention to the toilets is something we need to do. It’s very prudent for those caring for patients in the hospital. And for those who are out of the hospital and trying to stay healthy, consider avoiding public-domain toilets.”

Johnson explains how COVID-19 can spread:

“Droplets of SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19, can be spread and live in the air for up to 3 hours, and be disseminated to hard surface areas where they can live up to 3 to 4 days. That is quite concerning when you consider that flushing a toilet can create an aerosolized plume of these viral particles, which can then spread elsewhere within proximity.”

This means that if you flush the toilet, aerosolized feces can spread onto other things that are in close proximity within the bathroom. This includes:

  • Toothbrushes
  • Door knobs
  • Towel racks
  • Countertops
  • Anything else close to the toilet


Then there are cellphones and other items you bring with you in the bathroom. Lots of people take their cellphone in the bathroom with them. If you do, it’s very important to wipe them down. It’s even better to just not take them in the washroom with you.

, Toilets & COVID-19: Risk of Spreading and Why You Should Flush with the Lid Down, Bradshaw Plumbing Service & Parts

The Solution: Flush With The Lid Down

One of the simplest ways to help prevent the spread of toilet plume and the spread of COVID-19 in the bathroom is to flush the toilet with the lid down. This will prevent airborne particles from escaping from the toilet. However, this is not a 100% guaranteed solution. It’s one way to reduce coming in contact with the virus. It’s advisable to clean your bathrooms more frequently, improve ventilation in the room, and close the door when you are not using them. These steps can help reduce the odds of getting COVID-19 from using a toilet.

Tips To Use Public Washrooms

It’s important to take precautions to avoid getting COVID-19 when using a public bathroom. While refraining from using them is the best option, this is not always possible. Use these tips when using a public washroom:

  • Avoid touching different types of surfaces if possible
  • Refrain from touching your face
  • Avoid using your phone or touching other personal items when in the washroom
  • Wash your hands before flushing
  • Use a paper towel or toilet paper to avoid touching the handle directly
  • Sanitize hands after touching door handles
  • Wait a couple minutes before using a public washroom after another person

Can I Share Bathrooms With Someone With That Has COVID-19?

Obviously there is an increased chance of getting COVID-19 if you use the same washroom as someone who is symptomatic, such as a family member. If possible, avoid the use of the same bathroom. If you have multiple bathrooms in your home, ensure one is used exclusively by the person with COVID-19. If you only have one washroom, make sure to disinfect the bathroom in between each use to reduce the odds of transmitting the virus.

Have questions about your bathroom? Thinking about an update or renovation? We can help you with all your bathroom repair and renovation needs. Give us a call at 416-286-7511.

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        COVID-19 Announcement

        At Bradshaw Plumbing & Renovations - the safety and well-being of our staff, our customers, and our community is our top priority. Rest assured that we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely, and taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.

        To help with prevention, we have put the following protocols in place for our staff:

        1.) Providing staff members with ample supply of: hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, face shields, and eye protection.

        2.) Asking customers if they have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, or if they have any cold or flu symptoms, prior to entering their home or business.

        3.) Team members have been instructed to keep safe social distance, to avoid shaking hands when serving customers, and to work at least 6 ft away from others at all times.

        4.) Any staff member that develops cold or flu-like symptoms will refrain from working immediately and be asked to contact Ontario's Public Health Agency to follow the COVID-19 testing and self-isolation protocols.

        5.) Should the situation present itself, our staff members have the right to refuse entry into a property if they feel they are in harmsway.

        6.) The parts department is available from Monday to Friday for curbside pickup of essential plumbing repair parts.

        7.) Please note that during this time, the showroom will be closed until further notice.

        Thank you for your cooperation and understanding, as we all do our part to keep eachother safe and healthy during these challenging times. We will get through this together.