Splashing yourself with toilet water is one of those unpleasant accidents you can’t avoid completely.
It is more likely to happen to you in an unfamiliar public toilet than at home.
Still, you would handle the embarrassment better at home than at a function deep in the city.
But, What Should You Do When Toilet Water Splashes On You?
You should first determine whether you’ve been splashed with clear water or dirty water. Toilet water is usually clean but may carry a few clinically significant germs depending on the toilet’s cleanliness. The good news is that those germs can’t penetrate the skin. “Dirty” water is a little different – it contains observable fecal matter and is more likely to carry disease-causing microbes. So, unless the splashed water has visible fecal matter or urine, a simple wipe with dry tissue paper is all you need to do.
Most people can’t psychologically get over the fact that they came into contact with human waste.
The first and most obvious thing to cross your mind would be to stop at the sink and wipe yourself thoroughly.
However, sink water alone may not be enough especially if the splashback contains germs.
Does Toilet Water Carry Infectious Germs?
Generally speaking, the odds of getting an infection from toilet water are low.
Even the worst pathogens that could end up there, say, Chlamydia, HPV, Neisseria gonorrhea, and similar STIs don’t last long in the water.
Also, whether you are going to pick a dangerous pathogen from the toilet depends on the health of the other users.
However, women are at a slightly higher risk of catching UTIs from the toilet splash because of the thin exposed membrane on the genitalia.
Though unlikely, the contaminated splash can release pathogens on the genital/urethral tract or fresh sore/cut on the skin.
Even though the risk is low, you could still pick one of those common diarrheal bugs.
Diarrheal bugs may not be deadly to an average person with a functioning immune system but are capable of unleashing a localized epidemic.
- Escherichia coli: notorious for causing severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.
- Streptococcus: both Group A and B
- Staphylococcus, known for skin infections
- Shigella, the infamous Shigellosis bug that causes a contagious intestinal infection manifested by severe bloody diarrhea
- Hepatitis A, a deadly virus that inflames the liver
- Cold virus
If the toilet itself is dirty or the water contains visible fecal matter (from the previous user, ew!), you are justified to panic after that dreadful splash.
You may have come into contact with disease-causing germs.
Wash off the germs before they stick on your undergarments and find an alternative route into the body.
Has Toilet Water Splashed You? Do this ASAP
Proceed as follows:
- Wet your buttocks with clean, fresh water (preferably running water). If possible, allow the water to flow over the affected area. Apply some germicidal soap.
- Lather the affected area by rubbing it with soapy hands. Remember to lather both sides of the hands, in the nails, and between the fingers.
- Next, scrub the area for about 30 seconds. If you need a timer, sing the birthday song from start to end two times.
- Rinse the affected area and the hands with clean running water.
- Dry the area with an air dryer, tissue paper, or towel.
- Running water is preferable over still water because the latter might become contaminated through repeated use. Water temperature doesn’t matter much when it comes to germ removal. However, hot or warm water may irritate your skin, especially if it comes in contact with cuts or sores.
- Germicidal soap is better than water alone. There are two reasons for that – the soap kills the germs and serves as a surfactant, dissolving and lifting the dirt and germs off the skin.
Use A Hand Sanitizer If You Can’t Find Clean Water and Soap
Washing your rear end with water and germicidal soap is the most effective way to kill the germs that may have been obtained from the toilet water.
- Alternatively, you can use 60% alcohol hand sanitizer or any other alcohol-based cleaner rated safe for external use. Alcohol (ethanol) is an effective germ killer but only at a specific concentration. Be sure to confirm this by checking the label.
- While hand sanitizers may be effective at cutting the number of pathogenic microbes on the skin, it is not a perfect antiseptic:
- Hand sanitizers are only effective against common bacteria. Stubborn gut viruses, fungi, and spore-forming bacteria are known to resist them. Some of these may be lurking in the water especially if it is a communal toilet.
Hand sanitizers don’t perform well on greasy or dirty skins
- The hand sanitizer won’t eliminate harmful chemicals if any are present.
- With that said, here’s how to wash off the toilet splash with a hand Sanitizer
- Start by applying the gel on the affected surface with your hands. Remember to read the instructions on the label regarding the amount and method of application.
- Cover the whole affected surface and your hands.
- Rub the surface with your hands. Remember to rub your fingers too. The whole exercise should take 20 seconds or less.
The disgust you get when you come into contact with toilet water is reasonable.
The risk is low with clean private toilets. The risk of catching a bug from poorly run public restrooms is high because of the diverse users.
Thus, it would help if you cleaned a splashback from such a toilet with germicidal soap and a lot of clean water.