Some questions that cross our minds do not seem to want to go away until we find the answer. One such question may be, “is toilet water clean?”. This is one of the nagging questions that have bothered me for a while. Now that you are thinking about it, too, let us find the answer together.
Surprisingly, toilet water is cleaner than the water you see in public water fountains. The water in toilets gets flushed frequently, and the bowl goes through regular cleaning. On the other hand, it is only rare to change the water in water fountains. It is the reason why it gets contaminated by bird and animal droppings. It is teeming with bacteria as it gets left out in the open.
Read on to learn more about whether toilet water is clean. You will also know if drinking is safe if worse comes to worst.
Is Toilet Water Clean?
One of the most commonly used fixtures in the house is your toilet. However, it is also the least often cleaned. The nagging question will most likely be, is the water in the toilet tank clean?
Despite regularly cleaning your toilet, like, once a week, you will still find bacteria in it. The most notable of all would be E. coli. This is surprising since toilet water is still just regular, drinkable tap water.
You may be using the same water in your toilet that you also use to shower and cook. However, that does not necessarily mean you should drink out of it.
Thousands of people accidentally contact toilet water due to different incidents. One of these is dropping their keys or phone into the toilet bowl. However, this should not be too much of a concern as they can wash their hands thoroughly afterward.
Even if the water seems perfectly clean, there are still germs on the bowl’s surface. This is especially true for those in public toilets. They will contaminate the water when flushed into the bowl.
Is Toilet Water Cleaner Than Tap Water?
It depends on where you store the water. If the tank is clean, the water in the tank is technically the same as tap water. This is the reason why it is generally potable.
When the water goes from the tank to the bowl, it might get dirty. However, many experts say toilet water is cleaner than most people think. The water in the bowl gets flushed regularly, and with them goes the bacteria.
A caveat, though. This is only true if the toilet goes through frequent cleaning, or at least once a week.
Toilet water can be cleaner than tap water. However, this might not be true for gas station toilets or those you find in subway stations.
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Will You Get Sick When You Touch Toilet Water?
You may have accidentally sprayed toilet water in the face. You could also have to retrieve the keys you dropped into the bowl. Regardless of the reason, just the thought of touching toilet water is enough to make you lose your appetite. However, it is not quite as disgusting as you think it is.
You might have a panic attack after getting in contact with toilet water. You may even get the feeling that you are getting sick.
The feeling worsens when you realize that your skin can absorb small amounts of water. However, there is no cause for alarm. The split second you were in contact with toilet water is not enough to make you remotely sick.
You only need to wash the exposed area with soap and water. To be sure, apply a bit of rubbing alcohol to disinfect the area thoroughly. The gross memory will only haunt you, but you are not very likely to get sick.
However, if the toilet water gets into cuts your eyes, nose, or mouth, you need to act fast. These entry points do not have enough layers of protection to prevent harmful germs and bacteria from penetrating your body.
You can prevent things from worsening by immediately flushing out the dirty water using a lot of clean water.
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What Can You Catch in Toilet Water?
People know it is essential to clean their toilets using cleaning products. Ensure that the cleaning products are effective in killing bacteria and germs.
The good news is that most public toilets nowadays go through meticulous cleaning. Note, though, that there is quite a sheer number of people who use these facilities every day. This means you can’t still be sure how clean they are.
According to the experts, there is a variety of nasty things that you can potentially get from a public restroom. You may find even the one in your home if you do not clean it regularly. Among these are the following:
- E. coli
- Shigella bacteria
- Hepatitis A
Fortunately, there are simple ways to prevent or at least significantly limit the transmission of these harmful microorganisms. You do not need to live in fear constantly when you use public restrooms.
Washing your hands properly after using the toilet remains the most critical step in preventing germs and bacteria from spreading.
You should also carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to be on the safe side. Good personal hygiene is still the best weapon against most transmissible diseases, so practice it.
Is Toilet Water Clean for Dogs?
Are you worried about your dog getting sick because he usually drinks out of the toilet bowl? Then remember that this will still depend on how you clean your toilet.
As mentioned earlier, toilet water is relatively clean, especially if you regularly clean your toilet. So, technically your dog might not get sick from the water itself. However, if you use many caustic cleaners, there is a chance that you may accidentally poison your dog instead.
Pet owners’ biggest safety concern is if there is a lingering chemical presence in the toilet. In most cases, cleaning and disinfecting products can leave behind such chemicals.
As the skull and crossbones on their labels suggest, these cleaning chemicals are not safe to ingest. Whether you use discs, tablets, gels, or cleaning sprays, you should be concerned about their possible dangers.
Put the toilet seat down to prevent your pets from drinking from your toilet. Keep the door to the bathroom closed, too.
Common Cleaning Products for Toilets [Plus Dangers on Pets]
Here are some of the most common cleaning products used on toilets and the potential dangers they have:
1. Cleaning Sprays and Gels
These cleaning products contain caustic chemicals that might seriously harm your pets if they accidentally ingest toilet water containing them.
If your pets accidentally ingest these poisonous chemicals, it can lead to burning and sensitivity. This may affect the throat and mouth. You may also notice that your pet suddenly loses appetite.
They may start getting picky with their food. The poisoning symptoms might manifest immediately or anytime during the next 24 hours.
If you notice mild poisoning symptoms, try decreasing the effects by making them drink lots of clean water. This is necessary as they will be pretty dehydrated. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or they would suddenly worsen, contact your veterinarian immediately.
2. Discs or Tablets
The chemicals in these items get diluted into the water every time the toilet gets flushed. These products keep the bathroom and water smelling fresh.
There are also not as many caustic chemicals in them. However, that does not mean that they will not have any adverse effects on your pets.
Some symptoms of chemical poisoning due to ingesting toilet discs or tablets include slight vomiting, nausea, and severe diarrhea.
Make sure to give your pet a lot of water to keep them from dehydrating. If their condition does not improve after a day, you need to bring them to your regular veterinarian.
Again, is toilet water clean? Toilet water is cleaner than fountain water due to environmental exposure, while toilet water gets continuously flushed.
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How to Clean Your Toilet Properly
Now that you know that toilet water can be pretty clean, here’s how to keep yours as clean as possible:
1. Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
Start by removing everything that is around the toilet. You will need unrestricted access to every nook and cranny to clean your bathroom correctly.
Also, this will prevent you from accidentally splashing cleaning chemicals where they are not supposed to go. You should also remove anything on the tank to prevent them from falling into the bowl.
It is best to keep all your bathroom cleaning products in one basket. This promotes ease in cleaning your toilet and bathroom because everything is in one place.
2. Flush and Appy Cleaning Products
Before you start cleaning, put on rubber gloves. Cleaning products often contain caustic chemicals, so you should protect your hands:
- Put the lid down and flush the toilet. This will prevent any splashing or spraying of water.
- Apply your choice of cleaner – liquid, powder, or gel will do.
- Apply the cleaner as close to the rim as possible to keep it from getting diluted too much.
3. Clean the Outside of the Toilet
It is best to clean your toilet from the top and then work it down. This will prevent dirty water from getting on the places you have already cleaned:
- After letting the cleaning product soak in the toilet, flush it down.
- You can now start cleaning the outside of the bathroom.
- Use the same cleaning product all over the sides of the toilet bowl.
- Spray the outside, including the tank and its sides, the handle, and the edges, and then wipe them down.
- If you use powder or liquid detergents, scrub the surface using a stiff-bristled plastic brush. Make sure to clean all the nooks and crannies.
- Next, spray the cleaning product around the sides of the toilet.
- Let it soak for a minute, and then wipe it down.
- Start with the sides and front of the bowl before cleaning the base. At this point, you should also mop the floor around the toilet.
4. Clean the Seat
You should never forget to clean the toilet seat. This is the part wherein your body makes direct contact with after all:
- Lift the seat and spray cleaning product all over it – underneath the seat, the top, and the hinges.
- Wipe down the toilet seat thoroughly.
- Some toilet seats have hinges that pop open to allow easier cleaning. If you can, clean this part as well.
- After wiping off the cleaning product, rinse the toilet seat with clean water.
- After that, wipe the surface dry to prevent bacteria from growing on it.
5. Clean the Inside of the Toilet
- Spray the inside of the toilet seat with disinfectant cleaner.
- Scrub the entire surface using a stiff-bristled plastic brush, including the drain hole.
- Put down the lid and flush the toilet.
- If the toilet bowl has mineral or rust stains, clean the porcelain surface using vinegar and baking soda. Many commercially-available stain-releasing cleaning products are more effective than home remedies.
6. Clean the Rest of the Bathroom
To finish, mop up the bathroom floor to pick up any drips of toilet cleaner that fell on it. The strong chemicals in the cleaning products might damage your bathroom floor if you do not remove them immediately.
It is advisable to clean your toilet at least once a week. However, ideally, do it twice a week to prevent bacteria from growing on the surface.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Toilet Water the Same as Tap Water?
The water used all over the house comes from the same source. This means the water you use to flush your toilet is technically the same water coming from your kitchen faucet. However, the germs and bacteria in your toilet bowl will contaminate the water when it contacts it.
Is Tap Water Absolutely Clean?
Here’s something that might surprise you. There are more bacteria in the water that comes from your tap than that in your toilet. When you clean your bathroom, you use bleach disinfectants that kill most bacteria. However, not all bacteria are harmful.
The ones that are in tap water are entirely safe. On the other hand, there might still be bacteria in your toilet water. These bacteria are usually the kind that makes people sick.
What Is the Purpose of Toilet Water?
The water in modern flush toilets serves a couple of purposes. The first is to make it easier to flush waste (solid and liquid) down the toilet. Imagine having to do a number 2, and there is no water to push the waste down.
Another purpose is to prevent smells from the sewer or septic system from coming up from the toilet. The stagnant water acts like a seal that prevents fumes from passing through the pipes.
Where Does Toilet Water Go When You Flush?
It will depend on how your house’s plumbing is done. Let’s say, for example, you are hooked to the municipal sewer line. In this case, the water goes straight from your toilet into the sewer pipes underneath the city streets.
If your home has a septic tank, that is where the wastewater goes. When you have a septic tank, you must empty it every couple of years. You would not want to know what happens when your septic tank overflows.
What Happens If You Drink Toilet Water?
If the toilet has not been cleaned recently, or even if it is, you can suffer from E Coli poisoning. You may also deal with other forms of bacterial poisoning.
Even toilets that seem clean may still have a lot of deadly bacteria lurking in them. If you are in a survival situation with only toilet water as your water source, boil it first. This is to kill all microorganisms in it.
In Closing – Is Toilet Water Clean and Safe to Drink?
The water in your toilet is cleaner than the water you see in public water fountains. The water in the typical toilet gets flushed frequently.
The bowl also goes through regular cleaning. In comparison, the water in fountains rarely changes, causing it to teem with harmful bacteria. This is why drinking water from public display fountains is not advisable.
Even though toilet water is clean, it is still inadvisable to drink. There are still lots of harmful bacteria that are lingering in your toilet, especially in-between cleanings.
Even after cleaning the toilet, you should still not drink the water. The reason is that there might still be significant amounts of caustic chemicals in your cleaning products.