Skip to main content

Six Reasons to Put the Toilet Lid Down

The author is a native New Yorker who understands the importance of closing the toilet lid before every flush.

Toilets are gross and can even be dangerous—here's why you should shut the lid every time.

Toilets are gross and can even be dangerous—here's why you should shut the lid every time.

Should You Leave the Toilet Lid Up or Down?

To some, it always seems like the right thing to do to put down the seat and close the lid. Why? Because there is a lid—if it's there, why not use it? But some do not think this way. They either don't see the toilet lid, or they view it as a backrest.

Which makes me wonder: Do people really recline on the toilet as if settling into their La-Z-boy before a TV show?

The question of whether to shut the toilet lid or not has been a point of contention for some time.

This article seeks to make the case that the lid of the toilet should always be put down after use. Here are six reasons why:

  1. Bacteria-Filled Mist
  2. Child Safety
  3. Pet Safety
  4. The Lid Is Not a Backrest
  5. Feng Shui
  6. Falling in
A toilet with the lid up

A toilet with the lid up

1. Bacteria-Filled Mist

When you flush the toilet, a bacterial mist of aerosolized fecal waste is created. Studies have shown that the mist can travel several feet every time you flush, meaning any toothbrushes, towels, shower curtains, or surfaces in the vicinity are being blanketed in bacteria. You, too, are probably receiving a blow of gaseous bacteria to the face.

2. Child Safety

Toilet locks exist so that children cannot open the toilet. Unfortunately, there are still cases of children falling into the toilet. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a toddler or baby can topple into an open toilet headfirst and drown. Frankly, with children in the house, there should be child-safety locks on the bathroom doors. Protect small children. Close the lid.

3. Pet Safety

Pets love toilets—that cool, fresh water, the funky smell, the mystery of what lies beyond the rim of that porcelain bowl. These are the things pets' dreams are made of. Dogs often hydrate themselves in the toilet bowl, and my cat makes attempts to play in the water.

If you leave the lid up, your pet may consume bacteria-ridden water or residual cleaning products. As you might imagine, the Animal Poison Control Center advises caution in terms of allowing your pet to consume toilet water.

4. The Lid Is Not a Backrest

The toilet lid is there for one reason and one reason only: closing the toilet. If people actually do recline on the toilet, they should know it's extremely unhealthy. Let's consider a pickle jar for a moment: You open the jar, you take out the pickle, you close the jar, then you put the lid back on the jar. Lids close things. They aren't decorative accessories.

5. Feng Shui

Feng shui, pronounced "fung shway," literally translates to wind, water. Also known as geomancy, it is an ancient Chinese science based on natural energy, or chi, in our environment. The Queen of feng shui is Lillian Too. She often writes about the power of water and how to use it effectively.

Lillian Too says toilets should always be closed because water has drawing power. You don't want to draw the energy in your home down the toilet. The open toilet will also draw your wealth down the toilet, says she. Need I say more?

6. Falling In

This reason to put the lid down also applies to leaving the seat up. Falling in is one of the greatest reasons to put down the lid. If you have ever fallen in the toilet, you know it can be a painful and messy affair. There is simply no way anyone can fall in the toilet if the lid is down.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Dengarden

"Why," you ask, "Don't you turn on the light if you are staggering through the dark at night to get to the toilet? This way, you can make sure the lid and seat are down." Well, if you must know, studies show that it's best to keep lights down if you must get up during the night. Turning on bright lights can wake you up completely, making it impossible to go back to sleep.

When a Toilet Has No Lid

Public toilets, which are usually small, enclosed spaces, often have a super-powerful flush but no lids. Being at home with your own bacteria is one thing, but it's hard to think of anything filthier than a public toilet.

How are you supposed to protect yourself from the bacteria mist? When in a public toilet, open the door, flush with your foot, close the door, and get as far away as you can.

I hate even thinking about this.


fdx on February 05, 2020:

Closing lid solves everending "seat up - seat down, woman against man dispute". Just close the toilet...

JHS on October 01, 2018:

Plus it just looks better.

Rosie61 on August 29, 2018:

I accidentally left the lid up on my way out the door and I locked my kitten in the bathroom to keep him safe (from the dogs) while I was at work, when I got home I found Hudson in the toilet, quite dead. I have never forgiven myself for forgetting to close the lid that day.

lee on January 14, 2018:

We have gone bacteria crazy. How much bacteria can possibly be vaporized AND distributed so far from the toilet? You probably have 1000's more bacteria under you finger nails than what is vaporized in one flush. Yeah is looks more proper, bur practicality should generally prevail.

Xavier on December 07, 2017:

People who don't put the lid down are disgusting. If you don't put the lid down you're uncivilized and probably never had a good woman in your life to help civilize you as a person.

PatriciaV on September 28, 2016:

This has become quite the family debate! My daughter and her family put the lid down after using the toilet. I have NEVER put the lid down. When they were visiting, I woke during the night and went to the bathroom where I promptly peed all over the lid, the floor and myself!! I would take a dump (with the seat up) in the toilet anytime vs this experience!

MarloByDesign from United States on September 15, 2015:

Great Hub! I will always close my toilet lid now so my money won't go down the drain (pun intended).

Geri Anderson from Arizona on August 23, 2015:

LoL!!! Gotta laugh at those who think 'their' germs are safe.. and that it's too much work to open/shut the lid... How very Lazy-American of them!!!!!

Becca on August 02, 2015:

SEAT down, lid up. Our toilet is clean. There's no bacteria and if you get up at night like I do, you don't want to have to open the lid each time. It's annoying.

AG on September 05, 2014:

I cannot believe that there are people that sit down in a toilet without checking that the seat is clean. That's nasty. Anyone who fall in the toilet deserve more than that.

Ruby S. on April 06, 2014:

You cited good reasons to make it a habit in closing toilet lid all the time.

Andy Smith on November 10, 2013:

Indeed, I think toilet lid is one of the most important part in installing a Toilet. And to get rid of the bacterias. Nice tips you got there.

BkCreative (author) from Brooklyn, New York City on August 01, 2013:

Great looking website. Glad you found this useful all the way from Australia to New York City. Did you mean you want to put a link on your website to this article? Then by all means do so.

Carl on July 30, 2013:

Hi there!

I love your articles/blog and aside from that it is very much related to my site

However if you don't mind i just wanted to build a link just an "anchor text" will do. And I'm willing to pay for it, and if so

you can reach me thru this email

Hope to hear from you soon.




BkCreative (author) from Brooklyn, New York City on June 29, 2013:

Briefme2 - you know I forgot how much my dog used to drink from the toilet. Then the cat started doing it. They do like that crisp cold water!

savvydating - I so agree with you. I wish I knew what would gain so much attention! And wiping that always touched handle is a good idea. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks so much for the votes. Yay!

Yves on June 28, 2013:

Wow! You've gotten a lot of comments on this. Who knew a toilet lid could be so interesting. Yet it is! This is such a well written piece. I'm glad you mentioned the leaning back thing. I don't think I do it, but just in case, now I am more aware. Another thing I like to do is wipe the toilet rims and lid and the part behind the lid pretty regularly with a cleanser that has bleach in it. Often times, we forget to wipe the handles (any handles) so that is a useful tip. Hmm. come to think of it, I think I'd better go wipe my toilet and door handles right now!

Up & useful.

Briefme2 on June 27, 2013:

Brilliant Hub and great incorporation of Lillian Too/Feng Shui. I am going to try putting the lid down but the dogs will be disappointed!

BkCreative (author) from Brooklyn, New York City on June 27, 2013:

Alecia Murphy - thank you so much. Who needs the germs!

LensMan999 - you're welcome. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

Hezekiah - yes, there is something awful about looking in a toilet bowl.

QueenScheherazade - thanks so much and a big welcome to hub pages. I've been here over 4 years and it just gets better and better. I will look you up!

marion langley - I'm glad you mentioned Jungle to Jungle. I had no idea and now must look it up. Wonder if we will start a war over this soon? Haha - why not!

Hendrika - certainly a good point. I admit there have been times when I had back pain and I thought I wouldn't make it because the seat was down. Almost didn't. It was a struggle.

stan murphy - I am so glad you said that because as you can see in my first comment I innocently dropped a tooth brush in the bowl and never saw it again. What a disaster when the toilet started backing up. Now that I think back I wonder how many things my children dropped in the toilet. Hmmmm.

Better Yourself - thanks so much. Unfortunately, I have found myself falling in the bowl and you never want to do that twice!

Thanks for the brilliant comments. Oh yay!

BkCreative (author) from Brooklyn, New York City on June 27, 2013:

Sigh! Let me add one more reason for putting down the toilet lid. I was cleaning the bathroom with the lid up, using a toothbrush to scrub around the faucet and yes, the toothbrush fell in the toilet. It was like a magnet the way it jumped out of my hand and down the bowl. Then the toilet started backing up. I had to get in a plumber yesterday but it is still running slowly. All this because I dared to clean while the toilet lid was up. Never again!

Better Yourself from North Carolina on June 26, 2013:

The bacteria factor alone was enough for me! I can hardly stand the thought of it and since I can't control what other people do in my bathroom I leave my toothbrush closed up in the cabinet high up! And I've thankfully caught myself the few times I didn't know the seat was up in the middle of the night. Very interesting hub, great job!

Stan Murphy from Kansas on June 26, 2013:

I grew up in a family that left the toilet lid up for many years until we began to accidentally drop other toiletry items into it. I remember how much cleaner the bathroom looked once we did this. My wife has always insisted on it, so I am glad I had a chance to make the change while still living with my parents.