As time goes on, theories and old wives tales are often passed on as truth and fact and are subsequently ingrained in popular culture. Like a game on Chinese whispers, the further along the line the myth travels, the more embellished it can become. Here are a few well known bathroom myths that need to be busted wide open…
“You’re more likely to catch an illness in a bathroom than anywhere else”
Generally, there is a likelihood of catching an illness when in a bathroom when it comes to failure to wash your hands and carrying any germs with you when you leave. This being said, the typical viruses that lurk in the toilet such as E. coli are likely to cause nothing more than unpleasant stomach bug symptoms. Typically speaking, an elevator is a much more hazardous place to be than a standard public toilet. Airborne viruses travel much more efficiently in small, poorly ventilated spaces such as when you’re in a lift with other people in close proximity. In such a situation, you’re much more likely to catch an illness than compared to using a public toilet.
“The flushing toilet was invented by a British plumber named Thomas Crapper in the 19th Century”
Contrary to popular belief, the first flushing toilet was crafted by an author in the 16th Century, named Sir John Harington. Not only did he come up with the idea of the flushing toilet but also installed a working prototype in the palace of Queen Elizabeth I. After this, the first genuine patent for a flushing toilet was awarded to Alexander Cummings in 1775 which works out as sixty years before Thomas Crapper was even born! This is not to say that Thomas Crapper had nothing to do with crafting the toilets we know today. He was actually awarded nine separate patents for plumbing innovations over his lifetime and was recognised for making improvements to toilet design.
“You can get sucked out of an aeroplane toilet”
Of all the lavatory legends that we’ve come across on the web, this one is definitely one of the best. There have been many stories concerning people getting stuck to the toilet seat of even having their insides ‘hoovered’ out (eww!), but rest assured that all of these are entirely fictitious and never actually took place. Scientifically speaking, when you flush an aeroplane toilet, it creates a vacuum that sucks all of the waste away. This vacuum is nowhere near strong enough to attach a human being to the toilet seat or even pull out your insides – And even if it was, there’s a gap in the toilet seat to prevent it from happening!
“Toilets flush in different directions on the other side of the equator”
People have long thought that the ‘Coriolis effect’ can be applied to water flow on different sides of the hemisphere but alas it does not. The affect that the Coriolis force has on a toilet bowl is far too small to be visible when flushing but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. The direction that the water flushes around a toilet has a lot more to do with the manufacturer and design of the toilet that it does with what side of the planet you’re on.