There are some things in life that we’re sure we’re doing right until someone points out that we’re doing it all wrong. For instance, despite what your mother told you as a kid, you shouldn’t brush your hair 100 times before going to bed. Using so many strokes to brush your hair can remove its luster and cause damage. Who knew?
One thing, however, that we know for sure we’re doing correctly is using the bathroom. After all, we use the toilet every day, and it’s not rocket science, so we couldn’t possibly be doing it wrong. Right? Well, there are some toilet habits that you may not be doing right. Let’s see if you’re using the toilet the correct way!
Correct Toilet Habit #1: You flush the toilet with the lid down.
Have you ever stood on the beach as a wave splashed onto the shore and felt a light spray of water on your face? The same thing happens when you flush the toilet. As the water gets pushed against the toilet and down the pipes, small droplets of toilet water (and whatever gift you left in the toilet) go flying into the air. These water droplets can be anywhere within a six-foot diameter of the toilet.
Most of us don’t live in palaces, so our bathrooms tend to be tight spaces. Take a quick look around your toilet the next time you use the bathroom. Is your toothbrush within that six-foot range? Do you leave your toilet seat up? If the answer is yes to both these questions, then — yuck! If the answer to both is “no,” then congratulations. You’re using the toilet correctly.
Correct Toilet Habit #2: You never flush wet wipes into the toilet.
Hopefully, you’re not flushing those “septic and sewer safe” wet wipes down the toilet. If you are, we can’t blame you because they’re marketed as safe to be flushed. These wipes aren’t all that flushable, however, and they don’t break down very quickly either.
According to Consumer Reports, these flushable wet wipes don’t disintegrate within 10 minutes as toilet paper does. They remain intact for so long that major cities like San Francisco and Miami have complained of clogged sewers due to these products. Other items not to flush? Sanitary napkins, condoms, swabs, and tampons. If the only thing you flush down the toilet is toilet paper and whatever comes out of your body, then you’re using the toilet appropriately.
Correct Toilet Habit #3: You don’t douche.
The advertisements for douches make it seem as if they’re a necessary part of being female. They’re not. Douching can worsen existing vaginal infections and even create new ones. The body naturally cleanses itself inside the vagina, so there’s no need to introduce products into the environment. Simply wash with mild soap and water when you shower, and you’re clean.
Correct Toilet Habit #4: You don’t overdo the wiping.
Common sense tells you that the more you scrub, the cleaner you get. Unfortunately, the more you clean “down there”, the more you can harm yourself. Aggressive toilet paper use can lead to itching and a rash. Add scented lotions, harsh soaps, and abrasive scrubbers to the mix, and you can develop a curious condition with the unofficial name of “polished anus syndrome”. This condition results in intense itching and rash in the area. So, it’s okay to get yourself clean. Just don’t overdo it.
Correct Toilet Habit #5: You don’t go crazy cleaning with bleach.
Bleach kills germs and makes the toilet white, so it would make sense to use it to clean the toilet bowl. Just like overzealous wiping, however, too much of a good thing can be bad. High concentrations of bleach can lead to breathing problems and pneumonia. When mixed with other cleansers, like ammonia, bleach may become toxic. Instead, add ¼ cup into the toilet, let it sit, and clean the area. In this case, less is more.
Correct Toilet Habit #6: You limit your time on the throne.
For most people, their time on the toilet is their quiet time. A time for introspection, pondering the meaning of life and searching through their social media. If this is the case for you, you may want to formulate your witty Twitter responses somewhere other than the toilet. Sitting perched on your throne can place undue stress on your rectum, resulting in uncomfortable hemorrhoids.
Correct Toilet Habit #7: You inspect your poop.
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes or place your poop under a microscope. Every so often, you may want to glance at what you dropped into the toilet. Your poop says a lot about your health and can give you clues to any medical problems. For example, dry and lumpy poop may indicate dehydration or the need for fiber. Watery poop can indicate an infection or food intolerance. Black spots on poop may mean an injury or bleeding in the digestive tract. As disgusting as it sounds, you may want to take a look at what you left in the toilet and report any significant changes to your doctor.
Correct Toilet Habit #8: You push gently.
There’s nothing more satisfying than having a good poop. That said, if you feel resistance when you strain, take it easy. Try not to push too hard, because too much force can cause anal fissures, bowel tears, and hemorrhoids. Instead, push little by little or try squatting. Both can ease the strain from a massive bowel movement or constipation. If you’re often constipated, you can drink more liquids and increase your fiber intake to make Number Two a more pleasant experience.
Correct Toilet Habit #9: You notice what your pee smells like.
Because the kidneys filter out toxins from your body, think of urine as another indicator of how healthy your body is. Very yellow pee can mean you’re dehydrated. Dark, foul-smelling, and cloudy pee with bits in it can indicate an infection, diabetes, or kidney damage. And if your pee smells like asparagus, well–you may have eaten asparagus.
Correct Toilet Habit #10: You don’t lean against the back of the toilet.
If you have good toileting habits, then you probably close the lid of the toilet when you flush. Hopefully, other people in your household do, also. Unless you clean the bottom of the toilet lid after each flush, then all those particles remain stuck to the toilet seat. If you lean your back against the lid, then go and lie on your bed or the couch, all those particles transfer onto your furniture. Better to be safe and don’t lean back against the toilet lid.