Toilet paper put on Open Toilet seat

Developing an infection from sitting on a public toilet seat is very unlikely, according to an article on In fact, the belief that toilet seats are an infection risk is false.

The fact is, most common viruses and bacteria die quickly when exposed to air. By the time they are on a toilet seat, they have likely already perished. Reports indicate that skin-to-skin transmission of germs can be a concern, but only if there is a cut or an open wound or sore.

Most transmission of germs is minimal because of the natural defenses set up by the human body. According to, unbroken skin is covered by a layer of bacteria and yeast, which functions as a protective shield. Plus, the immune system usually does a good job of protecting you from pathogens.

But, despite the protections of the body, it is important to educate building occupants on proper hygiene and infection prevention. If they are concerned about the toilet, suggest they carry and wipe surfaces with antiseptic wipes before use — and don't stop there.

According to reports, the sinks, faucet handles, paper towel dispensers and hand driers can be covered in pathogens, thanks to toilet plume. A 2011 study found that when the toilet is flushed, microbes in descending water droplets quickly settle on surfaces throughout the restroom.

No matter how often the surfaces are cleaned and disinfected by custodial crews, contamination can occur after the first flush. For this reason, it's even more important to stress proper hand hygiene to building occupants. Supply soaps and appropriate drying options so patrons can properly remove contaminants from hands before leaving the restroom.