Is Flushing the Toilet While Sitting Down Safe? Everything You Need to Know About Courtesy Flushing

As kids, many of us were taught to flush the toilet when we were done with our bathroom business. But sometimes, your bathroom business takes a little longer to complete. The longer the contents sit on the toilet bowl unflushed, the more they smell up the bathroom. Or maybe you are at your girlfriend’s place for the first time. 

Enter the courtesy flush…

courtesy flush is the colloquial term for flushing the toilet while you’re still sitting on it in order to reduce the smell. It’s a bit unorthodox, but a courtesy flush can come in handy when you can’t afford to ruin the moment with the smell of your bowel movement. But there’s some controversy when it comes to flushing the toilet while sitting down. 

While it may be the right thing to do on certain occasions, flushing while sitting on the toilet is not always a good idea. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about flushing the toilet while sitting down and why you should probably never do it.

Reasons For Flushing the Toilet While Sitting Down

You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to flush while sitting on the toilet. The main reason for flushing the toilet while sitting down is to reduce the smell. The longer your waste contents sit in the toilet bowl, the more time the unpleasant whiff from your bowel movement has to infiltrate the bathroom. 

Flushing while sitting down minimizes the time your poop is exposed to the air, reducing the smell. As you’ve probably already guessed, it’s called a “courtesy” flush because you will be doing the people in the adjacent room — and yourself — a favor by saving them from the smell. 

And as you’ll learn in the next section and throughout the article, it’s not just the smell you have to worry about when it comes to your bathroom business — and probably why you shouldn’t flush the toilet while sitting down in the first place. 

Is It Bad to Flush the Toilet While Sitting On It?

Is courtesy flushing bad? The scientific community says no. Flushing the toilet while sitting down can be beneficial— and perhaps even necessary — in some situations. It is, however, not a healthy or safe practice. The biggest concern with flushing the toilet while sitting on it is the toilet plume. 

Experts say flushing creates an invisible cloud of pee and poop particles containing harmful bacteria. These can be E Coli, Shigella, and C difficile. According to researchers, the germs in toilet plume may help spread infectious diseases. Toilet plume is why you should always flush the toilet with the lid down.

While a courtesy flush can help reduce the smell, it can lead to bigger problems. By flushing the toilet while sitting down, you are just covering yourself with disease-causing germs. You should be more careful even as you lead down to flush so as not to shoot poop particles and germs directly into the air around you. 

Bottom Line

Can you flush the toilet while sitting down? Well, for starters, the logistics are not in your favor. The flush button is at the back of the commode and is covered by the lid when in use. And even if you could, we recommend you don’t flush while sitting on the toilet. 

Although it’s rare, the germs from the toilet plume can cause you to get sick. For hygiene reasons, the lid must be down when you flush the toilet. Regardless of the situation, I think most of us can agree that the risk of getting sick far outweighs the unpleasant bathroom smell. 

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