Home > Contemplations > Battle Of The Sexes: The Toilet Seat Debate

Battle Of The Sexes: The Toilet Seat Debate

Women's & Men's Washroom Signs

The battle of the bathroom between the sexes has raged since 1927 when Tom Bradney invented the toilet seat. The question:

Should The Toilet Seat Be Left Up Or Down?

Women argue that it should always be left down because they don’t want to have to look before they sit down. They say that because men stand in front of the toilet and have to aim they are required to look down so the onus is on them to notice if the seat is up or down and adjust accordingly. Men more often than not acquiesce to the ladies in their lives and leave the toilet seat down only to find themselves getting in more trouble when a few drops end up on the seat because they can’t be bothered to raise the seat before relieving themselves or to check the seat for drops after the fact. When this happens the argument starts right back up because the man’s point of view is that he wouldn’t have gotten the seat sprinkled if it hadn’t been down in the first place.

Seat Up Lid Up Toilet

Toilet with the seat up. The bane of every lady’s existence.

Guys, I know that essentially the female side of this debate boils down to a reality which finds them walking into the bathroom backwards, never actually looking at the toilet before sitting down. Unfortunately, though I don’t agree with their logic, I have to side with the ladies here. The seat should be left down. Here’s why:

Why The Seat Should Be Left Down

 Seat Down Lid Up Toilet

The seat should be left down. It isn’t because I am choosing to pander to women. It isn’t because, mathematically speaking, it needs to be down more often than up – as men need to sit on the toilet sometimes too. It is for a much simpler reason. The seat has to be down in order for the lid to be down too.

“Wait, what?” you’re asking as your jaw sits agape staring at the screen uncomprehendingly. Yes, you should be not only lowering the seat each time you use the facilities but lower the lid too!

Why The Lid Should ALWAYS Be Left Down

Lid Down Seat Down Toilet

It is simple science really. When The Atlantic interviewed microbiologist Dr Charles P. Gerba he told them that toilets have an aerosol effect when flushed. An aerosol effect. That means that whatever particles are in the toilet are being sprayed OUT of the toilet into the rest of the bathroom every time you flush.

The article I read quoted Dr Gerba saying that when you flush with the lid open “[d]roplets are going all over the place — it’s like the Fourth of July.” Think of what goes on in and what is put into the toilet in your house on a regular basis. Now think about all the things you leave out in your bathroom: cups, toothbrushes, bar soap, hair brushes, books, magazines, and the list goes on. Think about the air you’re breathing every time you flush. Would you like there to be more or less particles from your toilet sprayed up your nose, into your mouth, and onto your stuff you use to keep yourself clean? I choose less thanks very much.

Fireworks from toilet by  stephenthruvegas on flickr

When you leave the toilet lid open droplets are going all over the place – it’s like the Fourth of July! (Photo credit stephenthruvegas on flickr)

The beauty with my solution, ladies and gentleman, is that it is more sanitary. As well, the ladies won’t ever have to worry about falling in and getting their posterior wet because they didn’t look before they sat down and men don’t have to feel like they’re losing this battle. My solution is elegant in its simplicity and beautiful because nobody wins at the same time as everybody wins! The problem has always been that men aren’t trained as children to put the seat down when they’re done and women aren’t trained as kids to check the seat before sitting down. This takes the whole discussion out of the men versus women arena and brings it to a unisex solution that benefits everyone from a sanitary perspective.

You’re welcome humanity.

Men’s & Women’s Bathroom Sign Images from Microsoft Office

Explosivo Toilet” by stephenthruvegas on flickr 

  1. April 2, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Why not toilinal? ( toilinal = toilet + urinal )

    Or check out the topic “A home urinal” on youtube.

    A new generation of sleek, unisex hygienic apparatus that saves much water and creates a more pleasant and cleaner environment for toilet users.

    Let’s end the battle & no more fights forever….

    • April 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Not going to lie, that is a pretty cool idea. However, you are probably still going to have fights because what is to stop the man from using the female side when/if he gets lazy? (Or it is the middle of the night and he doesn’t want to spend the extra few seconds waiting for it to turn around.)

  2. April 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I like the “problem” and when dealing with a society that is supposedly becoming more equal, why not leave the seat up? The debate gets really interesting in Europe where the shape of the bowl actually make splash back standing and peeing a huge mess and it is not uncommon at parties to see a sign posted above the bowl asking men to sit no matter the task at hand…

    I feel who ever does the cleaning has the right to set the rules and it should not be a huge insult to masculinity.

    Anyways, at my place we always lower the seat and close the lid due to feng shui. It’s just a habit now, but probably rooted in the health reasons you mentioned.

    Thanks for the read!

  3. June 25, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    I always left the seat up when I lived by myself because it was just easier that way. get in get out. Now that my significant other lives with me I’ve been “convinced” that it’s essential to leave it down. not because of bacteria flying out, but because I’ve been told girls don’t look down before sitting and run the risk of falling in. Anyways, i guess it seems best to leave it down because it’s cleaner, and causes less of a headache.

    • June 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      I think you should show her this post and make a stand that the not only should the seat be left down by the lid should be too due to the bacteria. She won’t be able to argue the point because with the lid down she will never run the risk of falling in (her main argument beforehand) BUT it will require her to look before she sits down…or she’ll end up in a pool of her own pee & a ton of splashback. The hygiene argument really is the best because it cannot be argued with. It isn’t about comfort it’s about a sanitary living environment!

  4. patrolman
    September 12, 2013 at 6:13 am

    To me, the ‘germs from the flush might land on my toothbrush’ rationale has always struck me as being reverse engineered, i.e. the thought process behind it goes something like this: “I want it left down ‘because I just do’, so I’ll find a plausible reason and then use that as the justification”.

    Fair enough, but be consistent. Take it to its logical conclusion and behave accordingly.

    Every time you use the toilet brush for cleaning, tiny droplets of contaminated water could be sprayed around the bathroom by the action of the bristles on the porcelain. So remove or cover all toothbrushes.

    Every time you wash your hands in the bathroom (and bear in mind this is likely to take place closer to your toothbrush than the toilet is), small drops of water laden with soap, dead skin cells and bacteria could travel through the air as a result of your hands rubbing together briskly. So remove or cover all toothbrushes.

    Every time you brush your teeth, or gargle with mouthwash (both of which also happen nearer to your toothbrush than the toilet is), small drops of water laden with toothpaste/mouthwash, saliva, food particles, dead skin cells and bacteria could travel through the air. So remove or cover all toothbrushes.

    If anyone who insists that the seat and lid should be left down for reasons of hygiene during flushing also follows these practices, I’ll start to take them seriously. Otherwise, it goes back to being a simple matter of aesthetic preference.

    And don’t get me started on the “But I don’t want to have to check whether the lid is up or down before sitting!” argument. Unless you’re approaching the toilet with your eyes actually closed, I fail to understand how you could possibly not notice its position.

    • September 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Ya, but why not take every precaution you can to keep stuff off your toothbrush?

      • patrolman
        September 16, 2013 at 6:25 am

        That’s basically the point I am making, Dan – why not take every precaution? Don’t ‘cherry-pick’ the toilet seat position and then ignore all the others as if they don’t matter – people who do that are doing so because they want the toilet seat left down, not because they don’t want germs on their toothbrush.

      • September 16, 2013 at 10:58 am

        Oh, I thought you were just trying to prove your point by going to every length to point out how there’s not a lot we can do to actually prevent germs from being able to get onto our toothbrushes. Personally, I do actually keep mine in a cabinet over the sink so it is kept clean toilet lid up or down.

  5. Laurie
    December 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Love the humor in this. Men don’t have to be courteous, but this woman takes note when they are. (And also takes note when they aren’t). I did fall in one night when I was about 8 mos. pregnant, lol! But anyway, courtesy from a man who also treats you as an equal is a turn on.

    • December 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

      You’re really not being treated as an equal if a man is putting the seat back down for you. you are being treated as a superior, or arguably as a princess. That’s not equal. If it’s about the next poerson using the toilet, how do we know who is going to use it next?

      And the whole “if it is up and I go potty in the middle of the night and can fall in” argument is sad really. If you don’t have the common sense to look at the toilet before you sit on it first, than I think you should just ahead and fall right in 🙂

  6. bwcaltech
    February 3, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Why not Potty Glo? lol The easiest, simplest way of getting around this problem..

  7. Craig
    February 29, 2016 at 11:22 am

    this argument by far is the most illogical and absolutely irrational argument on the planet.

    the procedure is quite simple.
    1. observe the position of the toilet seat
    2. analyze wether or not it is in the required position for the expellation procedure you are about to perform
    3. adjust the position of the seat to the required position for the expellation procedure you are about to perform
    4. after positioning yourself for the required expellation procedure, proceed to relieve yourself
    5. cleanse yourself with toilet paper in the areas of discharge as needed to remove excess waste materials
    6. flush the toilet
    7. wash your hands with soap

    why this VERY simple procedure is so highly complicated to women mystifies me. Instinct does instruct women to maintain a higher degree of cleanliness than men for reasons of successful propogation of the species, but we live in modern times where there is an ample supply of sanitation methods available to maintain cleanliness i.e. step 7

    women need to ignore their instinctive drive to not touch the toilet seat. IT IS NOT THAT FRIGHTENING OR DIFFICULT TO TOUCH THE SEAT. if you are that obsessed with cleanliness, keep some sanitizing lotion text to the toilet and just clean your hands after you touch it. GO ON! TOUCH THE TOILET SEAT! TOUCH IT! 😛

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