The Toilet Plume Effect

Last night DH and I stumbled upon a really strange TV show called Time Warp on the Discovery Channel. It looked similar to Myth Busters but sillier. At first glance while eating dinner (which by they way I suggest NOT to do), I thought “weirdos!” They WERE hurling pieces of good steak onto a brick wall to tenderized it, but they first tried to pogo on it, which resulted in some majorly painful wipe-outs. But then the toilet bowl came on screen… and I was disgusted and this wasn’t even the part where they rigged the toilet bowl to be an omelet maker! Yep, you heard right, they did something freakier than making an omelet out of a toilet bowl… which is gross enough as it is…

What they did was conduct a simple demonstration of the Toilet Plume Effect. What exactly is that you ask? I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this in a public toilet, I certainly have, when you flush, splashes of water come out of the bowl which is basically a dispersion of water and your waste which goes airborne. I know, pretty gross eh?! Considering you’ve experienced that in a public toilet facility, double gross factor!!! Actually thinking about it in your own bathroom, all over your toiletries, toothbrushes, cups, towels, etc., the hair on my skin just perked… eeebbeee jeeebeees! What these men did was use dry ice and a slow motion camera to show the microscopic dispersion of toilet plume. Visible to the eye in slow motion was up to 2 feet of airborne toilet plume. Under closer examination, it covered the whole bathroom! Yea, on your toothbrush! While they didn’t propose any solutions, simply I guess, an awareness, I assume if you simply close the toilet bowl cover before you flush, you minimize the area of the plume and limit the germaphobic cleaning that will no doubt ensure. As for the public toilet rooms, don’t sit on the toilet, try not to touch anything unnecessary and please please please wash your hands (with lots of soap)! If you didn’t wash your hands after before, I certainly hope this compels you now — that goes for at home too!

About Suzanne Chan

Suzanne is student, daughter, wife, (labor & delivery) certified registered nurse, certified lactation counselor, friend, entrepreneur and blogger – but the job she's most proud of is mother… She shares her journey on this blog and The Disney Files. Read more about her here.


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