Sitting on a throne of lies

Toilet seat covers: do you use them?


Jonathan Salomon

A toilet seat cover is .01 mm thick. This thin sheet of paper separates a person’s bare skin from a toilet seat. Given the thickness of the cover, one may wonder the effectiveness of the paper against bacteria and other diseases found on a toilet seat.

As it turns out, toilet seats are cleaner than one may think.

“It’s a common misconception that toilet seats are dirty,” TMU nurse Sabrina Jensen said. “I do know that your mouth has more germs than a toilet seat.”

In addition, toilet seat covers are not necessary, as the skin that comes into contact with the seat is

enough protection against possible infectious agents, Dr. Philip Tierno said in an interview with Everyday Health. Rather than using toilet seat covers, the Center for Disease Control says the best way to prevent disease transmission in a bathroom is to wash one’s hands.

At TMU, almost every bathroom has a toilet seat cover dispenser, including the dorm bathrooms. Smith Hall custodian J.C. Barbosa has replaced these seat covers during his many years at TMU.

“Usually the guys use them less than the girls,” Barbosa said. “I only replace them once every three weeks.”

Jonathan Salomon

Given this information, the average male living at TMU uses roughly 52 seat covers every three weeks in the dorms. If Barbosa’s observation about female students is correct, then the women each use more than 52 seat covers in that time period. Based on this information, it is estimated TMU spends thousands of dollars every year on toilet seat covers.

Despite their proven ineffectiveness, toilet seat covers at least appear to provide students with peace of mind when using TMU bathrooms.

“I just want to keep my butt clean,” freshman Smith Hall resident Allen Hou said.