Few people actually like to use public bathrooms, but during those times when nature calls and there isn't a choice, before most people sit on the toilet, they go ahead and build a little nest out of the toilet paper so they don't get any germs on themselves. However, it turns out that isn't such a good idea. Believe it or not, using the toilet paper exposes you to way more bacteria than if you just have a seat directly on the toilet.
Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, told Self magazine, "The top of a toilet seat is much cleaner than most people's kitchen sinks." The reason is that toilet seats are designed to repel germs because of their smooth surface, so when bacteria hits the seat, it typically quickly dies. Toilet paper, on the other hand, is rough and absorbent, making it a perfect home for all that bacteria that flies into the air each time the toilet is flushed. Because of where TP usually is, chances are much of that airborne bacteria lands on the toilet paper you use.
So what can you do? Your best bet is to squat above to the toilet to avoid coming into contact with any bacteria. Of course, you might leave a mess, making things worse for whoever needs the toilet after you.
Tierno also suggests not touching other things in the bathroom, noting, "The towel dispenser, door knob, all of that is contaminated grossly." So you might want to use a paper towel to open the door, but throw it out when you are done, don't toss it on the ground.
As always, the number one way to avoid getting germs on you is to wash your hands. Tierno explained, "No matter how contaminated your hands are, as long as you wash them properly - for 20 seconds, with soap, and getting under the nail bed - you're fine."
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