33 million people are making this mistake in their bathrooms – stop the spread of germs with these simple tips

New research[i] from us at Harpic, the world’s leading toilet cleaning brand, has revealed three in five (58%) Brits are unaware of the risks of not closing the toilet lid when flushing. This is despite the fact that a single flush produces thousands of aerosol droplets which can contain bacteria and viruses[ii], contaminating surfaces up to six feet away.[iii]

The new data, which comes despite an increased focus on hygiene as the nation faces tighter COVID-19 restrictions, reveals more than half (55%) of Brits currently do not close the lid when flushing the toilet, even with 72% of respondents saying they are more hygiene aware than ever before.

When asked why they do not close the lid when flushing the toilet, the top reasons from respondents include being unaware of the risks of not flushing (47%), feeling afraid to touch the lid (24%) and general forgetfulness (15%). Almost all respondents (95%) admitted they will start to close the lid after being made aware of the risks.

According to scientific data, a toilet bowl water will remain contaminated for several flushes after becoming exposed to harmful pathogens. iii Research also highlights that the size of some of the particles (containing harmful pathogens) produced by a flushing toilet are capable of reaching the lower respiratory tract, which can lead to infection.iv If a person touches a surface contaminated by the toilet bowl flush, they can then become infected when they touch the nose or mouth.v

To highlight the risk of germ spread in a post COVID-19 world, we have released a series of powerful toilet portraits showing how unseen germs can leave the toilet when flushed. Using high speed specialist camera technology, the images capture droplets and aerosol particles as they leave the toilet, demonstrating how germs can spread in the bathroom.

To help keep households safe and happy, we are calling on the nation to carry out a simple three stage routine when cleaning the bathroom:

  • #CloseTheLid when flushing to help prevent the spread of germs
  • Ensure that you are using a toilet cleaner that removes limescale, which provides a home to germs, as well as disinfecting to maintain ultimate hygiene [iv]
  • Wear gloves while cleaning for extra protection, and wash hands after use

One of our R&D Associates has said said “There has never been a more important time to take extra care around our homes, although the risks associated with germ spread in unhygienic bathrooms are high, the solution to keeping them clean is simple. As experts in hygiene, Harpic are on hand to help everyone stay safe at home. We hope our new #CloseTheLid campaign helps inspire people to make simple changes to their cleaning routine that can have long-lasting benefits to the health of the nation.”

Our research revealed Brits are already taking important steps in ramping up their cleaning efforts. Cleaning the toilet bowl (49%), deep cleaning the bathroom more frequently (45%) and mopping the floor (44%) are the top things the nation has started doing more of over the last six months.

We recommend the use of Power Plus for limescale removal with a liquid and tablet combo



[i] Research commissioned by Censuswide amongst 2,006 nationally representative consumers

[ii] Persistence of Bowl Water Contamination during Sequential Flushes of Contaminated Toilets – L. Johnson, PhD1,†, Robert A. Lynch, PhD1, Stephanie M. Villanella, MS1, Jacob F. Jones, MS1, Haiqin Fang, PhD2, Kenneth R. Mead, PhD3, and Deborah V. L. Hirst, PhD3 2017

 [iii] Microbiological Hazards of Household Toilets: Droplet Production and the Fate of Residual Organisms – CHARLES P.GERBA, CRAIG WALLIS,AND JOSEPH L. MELNICK* 1975

[iv] Survival of Salmonella in bathrooms and toilets in domestic homes following salmonellosis’ – J. Barker & S.F. Bloomfield, 2000