How dirty is Toilet Water?

We have often heard that toilets are one of the dirtiest places in the houses. Even in the cleanest house, toilet water is considered the breeding ground for bacteria. But do you really know how dirty is the toilet water? What number of bacteria does it contain?

In a typical toilet bowl water, there are 3.2 million bacteria per square inch. This is in addition to the bacteria you have already picked up from other places. An interesting part is the surrounding parts of the toiler, flush handle and toilet seat also have a great number of bacteria.  More than 83 per square inch surround the flush handle and 295 square per inch surround the toilet seat.

In this article, we will talk about toilet water, how dirty it is, what kind of bacteria you may find in it, and what things are even dirtier than toilet water. In end, we have included some of the frequently asked questions regarding the toilet.

Toilet Bowl and Toilet Tank Water

Now, the toilet has two main compartments which hold the water; the tank, and the bowl. The tank water is supplied with fresh and clean from the house water supply. It stays inside a packed container, with the lid on it. Once you flush your toilet, the water goes into the toilet bowl.

So, the major concern is how clean or dirty is the water in these two compartments.

What type of bacteria is found in Toilet Bowl Water?

Toilet Bowl is the place where you poop or urinate. The whole waste of your body goes into the toilet bowl. So, there is no doubt that it is the dirtiest thing you will ever see. It is a hotbed for the growth of bacteria and contains pathogens. Scientific studies suggest that the water in the toilet bowl has an average of 3.2 million bacteria per inch.

More than 77,000 bacteria and viruses have been found in toilet water. Some common types include fecal bacteria, influenza, streptococcus, E. coli, and hepatitis are the most common toilet germs. In some cases, Salmonella, Shigella, and norovirus have also been found in the toilet bowl of common restrooms.

toilet tank with brown dirty water

Does the toilet tank water also contain bacteria?

The second thing you might think off is, does tank water also contains bacteria. Apparently, you may think that the tank water is clean since it receives the freshwater supply. It is somehow true but that is not the case always.

Sometimes, you notice that the toilet tank flushes brown water in the bowl. The dark coloring is caused by iron in the water. Your old galvanized pipes may be rusting, or your water supply may be high in iron compounds.  Iron may not be a health problem, but this type of water promotes bacterial growth.

Secondly, since the tank water is covered with a lid. This makes it an ideal environment for mold and algae to thrive in a toilet tank. The water may become hazy or have a greenish hue due to the presence of these microbes. The presence of iron in the water might lead to the growth of some types of bacteria in toilet tanks. In most cases, they are either pink or white.

5 Things that can be even dirtier than the toilet water

You might think that toilet is the only dirtiest place in the house, but there are multiple others. We will talk about 5 such things that are also dirtier, comparable to the toilet water.

woman uses her phone while using the toilet
  • Mobile Devices: InitialWashroom Hygiene conducted a study in 2018 and discovered that phones are approximately 7 times dirtier than toilet seats, with the statistics increasing if you use your phone while using the toilet.
  • Cutting Boards: Researchers at the University of Arizona discovered that the average cutting board contains 200 times the amount of fecal bacteria found on a toilet seat, with the majority of the bacteria coming from the raw meat you cook on it.
  • Used shopping bags: The meat and other raw food products that you store in your reusable shopping bag leave hazardous bacteria in it. E.coli and other stomach flu viruses are among the bacteria that are usually found in shopping bags.
  • Toothbrush: A study revealed bacteria is found in the very object that you put in your mouth daily, a toothbrush. To be precise, it has 200,000 bacteria per square inch.
  • Pet’s food container: Your dog can pick up approximately 296 bacteria per square inch by licking a toilet seat, but over 2,000 bacteria per square inch by licking his food bowl.


Now, let’s talk about some frequently asked questions regarding toilet water and its harmful effects.

What diseases you can get from toilet water?

Unintentional intake of toilet water can cause severe diarrhea, and multiple other diseases caused by bacteria. The cleaning agents in the water can cause mouth burns. So, it is advised to wash your hands after you use the toilet.

close the toilet lid to minimize the risk of getting infections

How can you get minimize the risk of getting infections from toilets?

First of all, cleaning the toilet regularly is very important. You can use cleaning agents with chlorine to wash the toilet. Close the lid and flush the toilet, every time you use it. Closing the lid hinders the spread of germs in water that may otherwise scatter around due to splashing.  You cannot eliminate all the germs but minimize them.

The second defense against these disease-causing bacteria is proper handwashing. Always wash your hands after using the toilet.

Is it possible to catch an infection from a splatter of toilet water?

It is possible, but that is rare to happen since disease-causing organisms can live on the surface of the toilet seat for only a short time. In order for an infection to happen, the germs would have to be transferred from the toilet seat to your urethral or genital tract, or through a cut or sore on the skin, which is possible but not very likely. Or it can also happen if you eat or drink something with dirty hands after using the toilets.

woman cleaning the toilet to avoid the risk of infection

Should you clean the toilet daily?

Since the toilet water contains a huge number of bacteria and infectious germs. To avoid the risk of any infectious spread, the toilet should be cleaned regularly.

Does Toilet seats also contain germs?

Toilet seats are cleaner compared to toilet water but still, they contain germs and bacteria. According to the microbiologist, Jason Tetro, toilet seats have bacteria, less than 1000 square per inch. It may seem a lot to you. But studies suggest there are more than 100,000 per square inch bacteria in a bathroom sink and millions on your feet.

Is toilet water toxic?

It depends on the concentration of cleaner you use in the toilet bowl. You might get toxic burns in the mouth and throat as a result of swallowing toilet bowl water containing cleaner.

I hope that now you have known how dirty the toilet water is and what harm it can do to you. So, the only way to get yourself safe is by taking cleanliness measures after using the toilet. 

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