Getting Real About Germ Avoidance Fails, Like Flushing with Your Foot

Dirty Bathroom

Depending on our psychological profiles, some of us worry about germs more than others. Of course, no one wants to get sick or come into contact with anyone else’s cooties, but some people take germ avoidance a little too far. The reality is, those efforts are nothing but a waste of time. With cold and flu season closing in, it’s likely that many people will start to ramp up their germ-avoidance tactics. One that you might engage in is particularly futile: flushing a public toilet with your foot.

Bare with us as we break this down…

Why Flushing with Your Foot is Foolish

The prevailing theory behind this useless endeavor is that by flushing a public toilet with your foot and not your hand, you’re keeping your hands free of germs found on the flusher. Okay… that might be, but those germs are now on your footwear. Unless you plan to wash the soles of your shoes in the sink outside the stall, you can expect that those germs will hitch a ride home and fester on your floors.

The other silly side of this equation, as far as protecting your hands from germs is concerned, calls into question your personal hygiene habits. As in, you were planning on washing your hands after you used the facilities… right? The only acceptable answer here is a resounding affirmative, in which case whatever germs would have clung to your hands for those seconds it takes to walk out of a stall and over to a sink, would have been scrubbed and washed away.

While we’re on the subject of hand-washing…

Paper Towels are Pointless Germ Protectors

You’ve seen this person. You might even be this person. This is the individual who washes his or her hands, dries them, and then reaches for another paper towel in order to grab the handle or push the bathroom door open. The goal here is to avoid encountering those germs left by someone who perhaps didn’t wash his or her hands thoroughly, if at all.

Why doesn’t this work?

Well… if you use a paper towel to protect your hands but then shove said towel into your pocket or purse, once again, you’re simply providing transportation for these germs to your home, office, or wherever you spend more time (more as in more than you presumably spend in a public bathroom).

The fact is, despite the activities generally reserved for bathroom environments, bathrooms are no germier than other spaces you visit on a regular basis. At the end of the day, the only effective way to combat germs is to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly (sing the ABCs or “Happy Birthday” in your head for optimal germ removal), try not to touch your face, and keep your immune system in fighting form with proper rest, diet, and exercise.

It’s as simple and straightforward as that. No bathroom contortions required when it comes to effective germ avoidance.

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