The Most Hygienic Way To Pee On A Plane

With the holidays fast approaching, many people are preparing to fly – some for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The risk of exposure to COVID during air travel is relatively low, thanks to mask requirements, HEPA filtration systems, improved sanitation measures, and the fact that passengers face the same direction and tend to sit quietly rather than screaming or singing.

However, the idea of ​​spending hours in a metal tube with dozens – if not hundreds – of understandably strangers might not sound very appealing. Being forced to share a small number of small bathrooms with them is even less so.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the spread of germs in the restroom. Below, health and travel experts explain the healthiest way to use the restroom on an airplane.

Surface disinfection.

“As an infection prevention professional and as someone who travels a lot, I follow a routine when I travel,” said Michelle Barron, M.D., senior medical director for infection prevention and control at UCHealth in Colorado. “When I sit in my seat, I use a sanitizing tissue to wipe my armrests, the tray table, and anything else that someone might have touched. Then I use hand sanitizer to clean my hands. The same routine works for the bathroom.”

Barron recommends using disinfectant wipes on bathroom door handles, lids, and sinks before touching them.

Philip M. Tierno, MD, professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, notes that although the skin is a natural barrier to germs, he suggests traveling with a small tube of disinfecting spray to areas like the bathroom of an airplane.

“I was going to apply Lysol spray to the seat before sitting on it,” Tierno said, then wait about a minute and wipe it off with a paper towel or facial tissue. “The friction caused by the rubbing process while wiping helps remove most debris as well as many germs.”

Touch as little as possible.

Make sure there is a barrier between your bare hands and any surfaces you should touch.

“It’s possible that the restroom has more germs in it, and more people are using it,” Barron said. “It is therefore important to limit contact with surfaces and use a disposable item such as paper towels to touch any doorknobs, covers, toilet handles, sinks, etc.”

Jagdish Khubchandani, a professor of public health at New Mexico State University, advised placing tissues on the toilet seat or paper seat covers if they are available. Get rid of it when you’re done.

“This helps maintain cleanliness and saves others who are following a lot of trouble,” Khubchandani said. Open the door with tissues or wipes when you get out of the bathroom. Put these tissues in the trash.”

Keep in mind not to use toilet paper for wiping.

“The biggest hack in my bathroom on the plane is using plane tissues instead of toilet paper,” said Brenda Aurelius, flight attendant and founder of Krew Konnect.

Earlier this year, Orelus posted this bathroom hack in her Instagram reel in which she explained that toilet paper in general is more exposed to liquid because it’s usually located at a lower level.

“Paper tissues are usually placed at eye level on commercial airliners,” Orelus told HuffPost. “Which greatly increases the possibility that the liquid splashed on it is really just water.”

Close the cap before rinsing.

We know that infectious microbes can spread through “toilet plumes” – the scattering of particles produced by flushing the toilet. These toilet sprays can be vectors of disease, including COVID-19.

There is a simple way to help combat this.

“You can close the toilet lid before rinsing to avoid spreading germs into the air during the rinse cycle,” Barron said.

Jaromir Shlapala / EyeEm via Getty Images

Practicing good hygiene on the plane will also keep your bathroom flights as clean as possible.

He wears shoes.

“On long trips, I have noticed that people — often, children — walk barefoot towards or into the bathroom,” Khubchandani said. “This is a very unhealthy tendency with the potential for infection if someone gets cuts and injuries to the skin on their feet. Also, you can stay with the germs on your skin from the restroom for the entire trip unless you wash your feet, which doesn’t happen often.”

Also, suggest wrapping your bottoms if you’re wearing track pants or long, loose-fitting clothing to avoid dripping urine, bits of tissue or other waste from getting on your clothes.

Orelus noted, “Everything from the waist down is in an area where turbulence can lead to poor targeting.” “So no, it’s not likely that the liquid on Earth is water.”

Sanitize your hands.

Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water is an important way to prevent the spread of germs. However, studies have indicated that aircraft toilet water can be of poor quality.

“The water tank in a bathroom tank can be heavily contaminated,” Tierno said. “As such, I would be using 62% alcohol gel to sanitize your hands instead of using bathtub water.”

Avoid touching your face or mouth in the bathroom before cleaning your hands. The same applies to the other steps in your travel journey.

“I also recommend keeping hand sanitizer nearby to use before and after eating or touching your face,” Tierno said.

Clean up after yourself.

“While going to the bathroom, be considerate of others who may follow you,” said Khubchandani. “We often don’t think about this or assume that someone else will clean. It is disrespectful to other passengers and flight attendants if they have to clean for us. So wash them on the go, put trash in designated waste bins, wipe down the sink area and clean the toilet bowl if they are. Cut tissues or scattered urine.”

He also advised to use a different restroom and notify the flight attendant if she entered the bathroom and found previous passengers to have left a big mess.

Take COVID and other health precautions.

In addition to the small steps you can take during your time in the bathroom, you can boost health and hygiene during air travel by following expert advice: wear your mask properly, don’t fly if you feel sick and make sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations.

“Of course, we’re all wearing masks on planes now, which helps keep everyone safe, but the most important thing I’d recommend to everyone is to get the COVID-19 and flu shots,” Barron said. “We are expecting a more severe flu season this year, so get your flu shot now. I also recommend getting a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if you meet the CDC criteria.”

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