Do you know how many infections you can prevent if you clean the toilet well?

One of the main reasons why many people find it unpleasant to clean the toilet is because there are many bacteria and even viruses that can cause different infections, but it is important to go beyond this negative impression we have and review what they really are these microscopic organisms that exist in the toilet and how we can combat them.

Although it is not the only place in the house where microorganisms harmful to health can accumulate, it is true that the toilet can be a suitable breeding ground for the settlement of bacteria, so it is normal that it does not cause us to approach this device. toilet for cleaning. In this sense, Escherichia coli and Streptococcus bacteria are very common in toilets, but they are not the only organisms present.

Bacteria that may be in your toilet

A professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, named Chuck Gerba, has studied in the United States how diseases are transferred in the usual environment, for which he has analyzed different household objects, including toilets. According to the results of his research, the average toilet seat has approximately 50 bacteria per 2.54 cm², among which some of fecal origin stand out.

Escherichia coli

Esta es probablemente la bacteria más conocida por todos, se trata de una enterobacteria que vive en el tracto digestivo de humanos y otros seres vivos del reino animal. Por lo general, el medio de trasmisión ocurre cuando algún alimento que contiene la bacteria es consumido, de allí la importancia de lavar muy bien las manos después de tocar la tapa del inodoro. Este microorganismo causa intoxicaciones alimentarias de leves a graves; puede tratarse de una simple diarrea con cólicos o vómitos durante un par de días, que desaparecen con reposo y mucho líquido, sin embargo, en algunos casos el médico indicará tratamiento con antibióticos.


This is a group of bacteria that commonly affects the tonsils and is transmitted by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions from someone who is infected. As the toilet is a place where many people spit, it is possible that it is a form of contagion, however, the risk is low compared to other bacteria. The diseases associated with these bacteria are not serious, however, some microorganisms of this family can cause pneumonia.


This virus can cause gastroenteritis due to food poisoning and is very similar to the symptoms of Escherichia coli infection, since it produces diarrhea in approximately 2 to 3 days. However, this is more common in toilets in public places, such as cruise ships, hospitals, gas stations, among others. In a house it can happen if any of the family members has been infected in the street. It is important to know that this virus is capable of surviving up to 15 days in the toilet. 


These bacteria are naturally present on the skin and mucous membranes of many animals, including humans, but what worries scientists is one of the members of this genus, the so-called Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause various diseases and is penicillin resistant. Also, it is known as a superbug, as it can live in the toilet and other surfaces for two months, hence the importance of cleaning the bathroom regularly.


This bacterium is practically eradicated from Spain, but specific outbreaks continue to appear from time to time in some areas, therefore, it is worth taking it into account. In this case, the mode of transmission is fecal-oral, therefore, it can be avoided by simply washing your hands with soap after having contact with any toilet. It is worth mentioning that it is a little more severe than Escherichia coli and even Norovirus, which is why it causes more complicated diarrhea. In fact, in some countries it has caused deadly epidemics. However, infection by this genus of bacteria is less common in Europe.

The easiest way to eradicate bacteria and viruses from the toilet

Even if you have the best toilet today, any sanitary device needs regular maintenance. This is particularly important in public toilets, but also in our homes, since during the day we are exposed to many microorganisms that we can take home, putting the health of the whole family at risk.

The first thing you should do when you go to clean the toilet is to use rubber gloves, in this way you protect your hands from bacteria, fungi and viruses that may be in this part of the bathroom, but you also avoid contact with chemical detergents that can cause skin damage. 

In this sense, it is good to choose a product that does not have a strong smell, otherwise you will also have to use a mask. In general, the common bleach that we have at home is enough to eliminate most viruses and bacteria, since it contains sodium hypochlorite as an active ingredient. Many cleaning fluids contain bleach and other ingredients.

You can start on the outside of the toilet, spraying the cleaning product over the entire surface. Afterwards, it is possible to use a damp cloth to complete the cleaning, while in the hard-to-reach parts, such as the hinges of the lid, you can use a toothbrush that you have already discarded.

To properly clean the inside of the cup, you must take into account the inner edges, since bacteria tend to accumulate there. You can spray common bleach or some other bactericidal disinfectant and let it act for a few minutes before rinsing. It is necessary to use a special brush to remove residue and stains throughout the bowl and then lower the chain to completely remove the dirt.

As additional advice, it is worth remembering the experiment of the Spanish biologist José Ramos Vivas, who demonstrated how bacteria jump with the whirlpool that forms when the water goes down, thus contaminating toothbrushes, towels and other objects that are around. Therefore, it is better to lower the lid before flushing the cistern. 

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