Ask Maxwell: Should You Lower the Toilet Seat to Keep Germs from Exploding Out?

published Nov 29, 2021
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Close-Up Of Hand On Table At Home
Credit: Getty Images/Kiyoshi Hijiki / EyeEm

Now my son has escalated a new situation in our house of which my wife and I are both apparently guilty — we don’t lower the toilet seat before flushing each time. My son says we’re both disgusting. What is the truth here?!?!


Dear Carl,

I thought you might be back. 🙂

Since Covid began germ etiquette has definitely ratcheted up and this is one that my own daughter brought into our home two months ago when school began again IRL. While I generally lower the toilet seat as a sign of politeness when there’s company or in a restaurant bathroom, I’ve generally left it up while at home and had NEVER heard of this argument. My daughter insisted that when you leave the seat up and flush, micro-droplets leap out of the water and can reach as far as six feet across a bathroom! While no one ever died at our house due to open toilet seats, I challenged her on this and she returned the next day with this picture from school. It’s not pretty:

Credit: Center for Health Protection - Hong Kong

Apparently, her own knowledge on the subject was stirred by these signs in the girls’ bathroom at her school. Not only are the kids getting vaccinated and wearing masks, but they are also being taught to lower the toilet seats. God bless them.

Best, M

Ps. For more info on this tasty subject, this is a good link.

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Maxwell Ryan is a father and was an elementary school teacher in NYC before founding Apartment Therapy. He’d love to answer your question: This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids.

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