Are Toilet Seat Covers Flushable? [Answered]

are toilet seat covers flushable

There’s a moment of pause. You’re in the bathroom. You see the toilet seat cover, and you think to yourself, is this flushable?

Most toilet seat covers are flushable, including the paper toilet seat covers commonly provided in public restrooms. However, decorative toilet covers, like cotton or faux fur styles, are not flushable. 

In addition, even though you can flush most paper toilet seat covers, you may not want to if the toilet has weak plumbing, or if it’s connected to a rural septic system. Below we’ll dive into more detail on if/when you can flush toilet seat covers.

Are Toilet Seat Covers Flushable?

“Toilet seat cover” isn’t specific enough to answer with just one simple answer. Like mentioned before, there are the paper toilet seat covers that are flushable, but there are some that would have you calling a plumber if you flushed them down the toilet.

Paper toilet seat covers are used to protect you from touching any bacteria left on the toilet seat from the people before you. They are sometimes provided in public restrooms, but some people may bring their own just in case there aren’t any provided.

Though paper toilet seat covers can be broken down at a commercial waste treatment plant, they cannot break down everywhere. Many people who have a house with a septic system may prefer you to throw them in the garbage if you are going to use them.

There are several reasons why this might be, but the main reason is to avoid clogging the septic system. You use septic safe toilet paper, which tends to dissolve well in water. Similarly, you need to be careful to use only toilet seat covers that will break down in the septic system.

A septic system simply spreads the waste throughout a septic field. It does not have industrial facilities like a town or city to help break things down – even things labeled as ‘flushable’. 

It’s not just septic systems to be careful of, either. In older buildings, sewer piping or building drains may not be as clear and free-flowing and could clog if something large is flushed. This is also common in scenarios where the toilet is a gravity flush toilet or it is being sent into a septic tank.

While the non-flushable toilet seat covers are mainly used for decorations or comfort, the paper toilet seat covers are for safety reasons in a public restroom. 

Types of Toilet Seat Covers

It is important to know the difference in the types of toilet seat covers so you’re not put in a situation where you have to pay for a plumber.

Below are a few examples of toilet seat covers. I’ve labeled two as “flushable” and two as “non-flushable” so you can see the differences between the two.

Discreet Seat 1000 Pack Toilet Seat CoversFlushableClick HERE
LeoLee Fleece Toilet Seat CoverNon-flushableClick HERE
24 Large Disposable Toilet Seat CoversFlushableClick HERE
5-pc Soft Warm Cloth Toilet Seat CoversNon-flushableClick HERE

What Is the Correct Way to Use Toilet Seat Covers?

Many people want to use a toilet seat cover but don’t know how. They aren’t common everywhere so when you go travel, you may see one and wonder how to use it. Below is a video that shows the proper way to use it:

If you’re like me, you’ll notice right away that you’ve been putting the cover on backwards! Well, now I know, and now you know.

If you don’t like watching videos, here’s a summary of what to do:

In most public restrooms, there is a dispenser above the toilet that provides you with a toilet seat cover. Once you pull the cover out of the dispenser, you need to unfold it and look for the flap in the middle.

That flap will sit in the water while you use the toilet.

Make sure the flap is on the front-side of the toilet (e.g. the side in front of you when you’re sitting). The flap should be hanging from the cover, and touching down to the water below.

That way, once you get done using the toilet, all you need to do is flush and the toilet seat cover will go with it because of the flap. That’s good news, because you can avoid touching the toilet seat after you’ve used it.

Here are some more tips for using a toilet seat cover:

  • Make sure there aren’t any visible holes in the toilet seat cover. If you were to sit on the toilet seat cover with holes in it, that would defeat the purpose of it.
  • Be sure that the toilet seat cover is covering the entire toilet seat to avoid your skin touching the toilet seat.
  • Be sure that there aren’t any big droplets on the toilet seat. Though you have a toilet seat cover separating you from the seat, a very thin paper is not going to protect you from liquids very well. It will just get damp and fall apart.

Are Toilet Seat Covers Bad for the Environment?

Even though many believe toilet seat covers are completely safe for themselves and the environment, there is actually evidence that shows they are bad for the environment.

While a lot of the flushable toilet seat covers are made of paper, there are some that are made of plastic. Plastic is infamous for being bad for the environment. Though they are meant to protect you when the thin paper toilet seat covers can’t, they actually do more harm than good.

The plastic in the toilet seat covers can contaminate the soil and water surrounding it underground. The plastic and its chemicals will seep into the ground, causing harm to the Earth.

If you ever decide to use flushable toilet seat covers, be sure to make sure they are not made of plastic. 

Do Toilet Seat Covers Do Anything?

There are also some convincing studies that claim toilet seat covers aren’t that useful when protecting us from bacteria on a toilet seat.

In fact, there isn’t much to protect us from according to Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, he says, ”toilet seats are not a vehicle for the transmission of any infectious agents — you won’t catch anything,”

To be fair, there may be a rare case where there may be dangerous bacteria on the surface of the toilet seat. Although, in cases like those, your skin acts as a barrier that fights off bacteria unless you have an open wound that the bacteria can reach.

While on the topic of bacteria, it is important to know that there are so many other things you come in contact with every day that has more bacteria than toilets. In fact, toilets’ smooth surface is made to prevent bacteria from being able to latch on. 

In addition, toilet seats do not stay warm enough for transmittable diseases to stay alive. Therefore, many worries concerning public toilet seats aren’t completely necessary.

If you are going to take precautions when in contact with toilet seats, then it is important to take precautions with any other objects that are prone to have more bacteria like refrigerators, TV remotes, and money.

But, at the end of the day, it is your choice if you use toilet seat covers. And if you want to use a paper toilet seat cover for the peace of mind, you’re certainly free to do so.

Are Toilet Seat Covers Flushable? Now You Know

Paper toilet seat covers are usually flushable, but it is important to make sure that you aren’t flushing any other non-flushable or decorative toilet seat covers. In addition, there are a lot of misconceptions about toilet seat covers out there, so if and when you use one, use it in an educated way.

Matt & Heather

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