What Are Toilet Seat Sanitisers & Are They Really Worth the Hype?
If you’ve ever used public transport in India for long periods of time, you would know how close toilets come to hygiene rights violation.
If you’ve ever used public transport in India for long periods of time, you would know how close toilets come to hygiene rights violation.(Photo: iStockphoto)

What Are Toilet Seat Sanitisers & Are They Really Worth the Hype?

If you’ve ever used public transport in India for long periods of time, you would know how close toilets come to hygiene rights violation. Now, you may be one of those individuals who have devised techniques like not drinking water for long hours or performing acrobatics to avoid contact with any surfaces in a public toilet.

However, in case you fail to go down these paths, the doom of a stinking, filthy toilet will be your fate. But wait, what if there was a solution to this problem of taking a piss when away from a clean toilet (and no, it does not include the shady highway bushes)?

Looks like your answer lies in toilet seat sanitisers. Before we try to figure out if they really work, here’s a look at what the product actually is.

Too caught up to read? Listen to the story here:

Understanding Toilet Seat Sanitisers

Most toilet seat sanitisers are available in portable spray bottles that can be easily carried around.

They have to be sprayed at the toilet seat from a distance of 10-15 cms and are allowed to dry for 10 seconds. Most sanitisers start disinfecting the surface after the first five seconds.

Most toilet seat sanitisers are available in portable spray bottles that can be easily carried around.
Most toilet seat sanitisers are available in portable spray bottles that can be easily carried around.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

They are scented which can also have a great psychological effect once they mask the foul odours often encountered in public toilets. They can also be sprayed on door knobs and taps.

Other than sanitisers, some people opt for toilet seat covers which is basically a sheet of paper that is put on the seat. They act as a barrier and prevent your skin from coming in direct contact with the seat. However, if health experts are to be believed, these covers cause more harm than good.

Infections to Worry About

Flushing a toilet seat often carries bacteria upwards to the rim which might come in contact with the human body when the seat is used.

These water droplets may sometimes also contain bacteria and contaminants found in human waste. For instance E coli is a baterium which is found in faecal matter. It is capable of causing diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach ache.

Another bacterium called shigella can also be transferred through toilet seats and can cause dysentery and stomach ache.

Sanitisers or Seat Covers?

Dr Kshitij Anand, Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Noida, affirms that toilet seats are indeed breeding ground for several kinds of bacteria and contaminants. In such a case, sanitisers become the need of the hour.

Shared toilet seats can become contaminated with bacteria that may cause infections. Toilet sanitisers and paper seat covers offer security from germs and dirt that may be present in the restrooms, it improves cleanliness.
Dr Anand

He further adds that sanitisers are more effective than seat covers.

Toilet sanitisers are more effective as compared to toilet seat covers. It may sound weird, but you’re actually exposing your body to even more germs and bacteria when you line the seat with paper seat cover. A paper seat cover has a rougher texture and is designed to absorb stuff which makes it a perfect place where bacteria can stick.

Gynaecologist at Max Hospital, Delhi, Dr Uma Vaidyanathan agrees and says:

Sanitisers are better than seat covers due to their disinfectant effect.

But Are These Products Really Worth the Time?

 Using a toilet seat sanitiser or even a paper seat cover, rather than attempting to clean the seat, could lower the risk of non-sexually transmitted infection.
Using a toilet seat sanitiser or even a paper seat cover, rather than attempting to clean the seat, could lower the risk of non-sexually transmitted infection.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Dr Anand reiterates that yes, toilet sanitisers do protect you from infections.

These products help to improve hygiene confidence and considerably reduce the risk of contamination. Using a toilet seat sanitiser or even a paper seat cover, rather than attempting to clean the seat, could lower the risk of non-sexually transmitted infection because if your hands get dirty then there are changes of having Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
Dr Anand

Dr Vaidyanathan comments on the stubbornness of a UTI and adds:

It’s a known fact that unclean toilets can give rise to urine infections which may be quite resistant to treatment.

If public toilets are your worst nightmare, you don’t need me to tell you that toilet seat sanitisers are your new best friend.

So, next time you embark on a journey where public toilets are an inevitable reality, just bring out that bottle and spray the bacteria away.

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