Flushing the toilet with the lid up could be a dangerous way of spreading the coronavirus, a report released Tuesday said.
The coronavirus has continued its deadly spread around the world, with nearly 450,000 fatalities. Researchers and health authorities have been looking into how the virus is spread in a bid to slow the virus, and the new study suggests that toilets could be one vector for infection that needs to be examined.
When flushed, a toilet could send particles that theoretically contain coronavirus flying up to around a meter from the ground, the study found, with particles diffusing into the surrounding area.
The researchers created simulations of how toilets flushing effects the movement of water and any potential coronavirus particles left behind. Both single-inlet toilets, which replenish water from a tank, and annular flushing models were tested, with annual models spreading more particles.
Even one minute after flushing, particles were still found to be traveling upwards, an alarming result for public restroom use.
Given the results of the study, the researchers recommended several important steps that need to be taken to contain the possibility of the coronavirus spreading during toilet use:
1. Put the toilet lid down before flushing, “which basically prevents virus transmission.”
2. Clean the toilet seat prior to use as floating particles could settle on it.
3. Wash hands after flushing as the particles could also be present on the flush button and cubicle handle.
The authors also called on toilet manufacturers to begin to design new toilets that could automatically lower the lid before flushing and clean the toilet bowl before and after flushing.