The Truth About Breathing Poo Particles In Bathrooms

What are you breathing in when you visit a washroom? Poo particles? It’s not something we generally like to chat about but it is an important topic when it comes to human health and hygiene – especially for businesses offering washroom facilities to their customers.
8 December, 2022 by
The Truth About Breathing Poo Particles In Bathrooms
XO2® Pty Ltd, David Blamire

How much do you know about poo and wee particles that float around in the air in washroom facilities? 

No, it’s not something we generally chat about over a coffee however it's an important topic when it comes to human health and hygiene – especially for businesses offering washroom facilities to their valued customers.

So without further ado, it’s time to close the lid on poo particles and open a discussion about how to prevent these disturbing and unwelcome droplets from infecting our lives.

Yeah, we know.....gross


The contamination risks of toilet plume (poo particles)

Wikipedia calls these poo particles "toilet plume". Studies have shown that particles spread in the air over a 3-metre radius when you flush the toilet. In the majority of public bathrooms, you are not only breathing in poo and wee particles that are not your own, but also sometimes vomit and high levels of mould spores. Yikes!

Poo and wee particles, or ‘toilet plume’ as the experts like to put it, is the dispersion of microscopic particles that eventuates through flushing the toilet. This term not only refers to the contamination of surfaces located within the flush zone, but also the build-up of smaller, drier particles that linger in the air for a lengthy period of time – waiting for you to walk through and breathe them in!

Hand dryers don't help, they spread the poo particles

Through conducting washroom tests, it’s quite alarming to see the stark increase in particle coverage when an operational hand dryer is situated within this flush zone. Even HEPA filter dryers only help to spread this particle coverage, largely due to the accentuated airflow emanating from the unit.

Whilst these particles are unlikely to cause any serious harm to those who minimise their exposure, bacteria and viruses such as salmonella and hepatitis A are both transferred through faecal matter entering the body orally, which is why it’s so important to protect ourselves wherever possible.

So how can we avoid this disgusting spread of germs?



How to avoid breathing poo and wee particles

1. Shut the lid (or hold your breath) before flushing

In order to avoid breathing in these gross particles, we recommend always closing the toilet lid before you flush, as well as ensuring all surfaces within the 3-metre flush zone are cleaned regularly with a product that sanitises the surface. In instances where the toilet lid cannot be closed before flushing (i.e. a public toilet that doesn’t have a lid), hold your breath and use your shirt as a filter for your nose and mouth :)

Although preventing the spread of these nasty particles is quite important to our health, practising proper hygiene is one of the best ways to avoid any unwanted effects from coming in contact with these potentially unavoidable and hazardous molecules.

2. Go touch-free in your washrooms

In terms of your business, we recommend installing touch-free solutions like... 

Touch free washroom dispensing offer the  ultimate hands-free sanitary experience and better hygiene. In most case they also save time, reduce wastage, create less mess, and offer a brilliant user experience that encourages usage.

3. Remove your automatic hand dryers

Hand dryers increase the air flow in a washroom and spread the toilet plume. If hand dryers are absolutely necessary, be sure to mount them as far away from flush zones as possible. 

4. Install extraction fans and clean filters regularly

Ensure your washroom has proper ventilation, preferably with the use of an extraction fan.

As a leading supplier in Australia of cleaning products and supplies for over 50 years, XO2 offers a range of cleaning chemicals, washroom products, cleaning tools and guest amenity products to ensure ultimate washroom hygiene practices and less chance of infection or disease.

Call 1300 123 499 or browse our range of cleaning products online for more information, and we look forward to helping you and your business lead a cleaner, healthier life!

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