How to safely use someone else's toilet
New toilet rules everyone needs to know: Experts share their advice for guests visiting someone else’s home – including waiting 30 minutes between uses and leaving the seat UP
- Experts have shared their tips for using the toilet in someone else’s house
- Suggested washing your hands and disinfecting before using the toilet
- Advised opening a window and leaving the toilet seat up before exiting
Experts have shared their top tips on how to safely use the toilet in another person’s household.
Personal hygiene and medical experts based in the UK offered their advice to guests on how to safely use the facilities while visiting a friend or family member for a socially-distant garden get together.
They explained it is is key to ‘wait until the route is clear’ to reduce the risk of passing someone at close proximity and advised cleaning your hands before using the toilet, as well as after.
Hand towels should also be swapped for disposable kitchen roll that can easily be thrown away and one expert suggested hosts provide disinfectant wipes so visitors can clean the key ‘touchpoints’ in the room after use.
Personal hygiene and medical experts based in the UK offered their advice to guests on how to safely use the facilities while visiting a friend or family member. Stock image
WAIT UNTIL THE ROUTE IS CLEAR
Dr Lisa Ackerley, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner, said: ‘When visiting the toilets at our friends’ houses, take care to follow hygiene advice and social distancing measures.
‘First of all, wait outside until the route to the bathroom is clear, so that you can practice social distancing. Before going inside, I suggest you leave all personal items such as mobile phones, handbags and wallets outside to prevent the spread of the virus.’
James Milnes, managing director at Zoonos, added: ‘Wait 30 minutes before entering the room after someone else to also reduce the airborne element of risk.’
WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE USING THE TOILET
Dr Ackerley said: ‘Just before entering the bathroom, use hand sanitiser (with over 60 per cent alcohol) so that your hands are clean when you touch door handles and the flush. Once inside the bathroom and the door is closed, wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water before going to the loo.’
DON’T TURN ON THE LIGHT
Mr Milnes explained: Many bathrooms have cord light switches. If the room is naturally lit, don’t be tempted to turn the light on unless you really need to, as germs will live on the string pull. This also applies to tradition switches; pathogens are easily transferred from your hands onto the plastic switch.
‘If the room is too dark, ask your host for an antibacterial wipe to wrap around the cord or disinfect the switch before you go inside.’
MEN, STAY STANDING UP
Dr Michael Barnish said: ‘If you are visiting another loo, then it is best to do what you need to do sat down. This will save on the spray and also save you having to lift the toilet seat up.’
ASK TO SWAP THE HAND TOWEL FOR KITCHEN ROLL
Mr Milnes said: ‘When the same towel is used by multiple guests, germs can quickly spread. Ask your host for disposable paper towels to dry your hands, or use loo roll, rather than drying your hands with a traditional cotton towel.
‘Use a disposable towel or piece of loo roll to turn on and off the tap before and after washing your hands thoroughly. Do the same when pressing down the top of the soap dispenser and dispose of all wipes and towels in the bin provided after use.’
LEAVE THE TOILET SEAT UP AND WIPE DOWN THE HANDLE
Mr Milnes said: ‘Pathogens can survive on surfaces, such as door handles or loo handles, for several hours. In fact, door handles are among the most contaminated items in the home. Use a disposable antibacterial wipe on the handle of the door when opening and closing it again. Don’t forget the door lock too.
‘Use a separate wipe to clean down the flush handle and loo seat before you leave. Never use the same wipe on two different surfaces, as this may spread the bacteria.
‘Leave the lid of the loo seat up to reduce the number of people needing to touch it to lift the seat up and down. To be courteous to other guests, clean the loo seat with an antibacterial wipe after use.’
OPEN THE WINDOW AND DON’T LINGER
Mr Milnes said: ‘At present, it is unknown exactly how long coronavirus can live in the air, but to be safe it’s advised that you close the door and open the window when leaving the room.’
Dr Ackerley added: ‘Once you are done, go straight back outside, don’t be tempted to linger!’
Tips for the host: How YOU can make your home safer for guests
HAVE A CHAT ABOUT RULES BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE
Dr Ackerley said: ‘For those who are hosting guests, it’s not a bad idea to have a chat before your guests come about how you are going to manage visits to the toilet during their visit.’
MAKE A NOTE OF KEY ‘TOUCHPOINTS’
Jamie Woodhall, UK Technical & Innovation Manager, Initial Washroom Hygiene and Rentokil Specialist Hygiene, said: To be thorough, we’d recommend walking through your home and noting down the most common touchpoints that would need to be cleaned regularly.
‘While the bathroom is a more obvious area to disinfect, you should not forget about items such as TV remote controls and phone chargers, or surfaces such as the fridge door, kettle handle, or light switches.’
DON’T FORGET TO DISINFECT THE TOILET ROLL HOLDER
Dr Ackerley said: ‘It is very important that you regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the bathroom – such as bathroom taps, loo roll holder and toilet handles or flush button – before your guests arrive. Then disinfect again, before and after someone has used it, using products that are known to kill SARS-CoV-2 such as Domestos Thick Bleach (1:8 dilution) and Cif Antibacterial Spray that ave recently been tested in a lab to confirm this.’
PUT HAND SANITISER AT THE DOOR
Mr Woodhall said: ‘Keeping hand sanitiser at the entrance of your home and outside your bathroom can also help prevent cross contamination through shared touchpoints.’
SWITCH YOUR HAND TOWEL FOR KITCHEN ROLL
Dr Ackerley said: ‘Lastly, provide paper towels or kitchen roll for hand drying rather than a cloth towel, and make sure there is a bin handy for the used towels.’
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