Open Letter to People Who Pee on Toilet Seats

Dear Inconsiderate Pissers,

This week I have sat on no fewer than five toilets covered in pee in train stations, mall bathrooms, airports, and in restaurants. It seems that everywhere I go, one of you has left me a present to marinate my butt in. Well, I’m tired of cleaning up other people’s piss.The tipping point was last week when I entered a bathroom stall after an older woman exited, only to find she had sprayed the toilet seat like a tom-cat. I was so disgusted that I considered chasing her down and demanding that she return to clean up the mess she left. Lucky for her, my need to pee was greater than my desire to humiliate her, so I considered another option: defacing bathroom stalls. At the time it seemed like a good way to get my message out but then it occurred to me that while my complaint is legit, the importance of it might be lost next to messages like, “Call Jenny for a good time 867-5309.” But you know what’s more effective that bathroom stall doors? The Internet, and here’s what I’ve got to say:

First, you are not going to catch something if you sit on the toilet seat. No, really, you won’t. There is hardly enough concentrated germs and bacteria on the seat to cause an infection and even so, how would they enter your blood stream or urinary tract? And you won’t get the clap either–sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted sexually, so if you’re not having sex on a toilet, you’re probably safe. And if you still aren’t convinced then consider this: bacteria can only live for a very short time outside of the body and even so, cold, hard surfaces are not usual breeding grounds for their kind. There really is no need to hover five feet over the toilet and aim your bits at the bowl.

Second, if you were going to catch something in the bathroom, the toilet seat is not the most likely place. Haven’t you seen Contagion? (Yes, everything I know about cleanliness I learned from movies.) Hands are the biggest culprit for spreading disease and many of those nasty hand bacteria are contracted from wiping one’s butt–not pee which is usually sterile. Do you wipe your butt and then touch the toilet seat? I didn’t think so. However, most of us do wipe our butts and then touch flushers, door knobs, faucets, OUR FACES, and hand towel dispensers. That is where the real danger zone lies–not on the toilet seat but on your hands.

I’m sure one of you little smart asses is saying to yourself, “Then why are there toilet seat covers if toilet seats aren’t dirty?” Fear, my friend, fear. It makes people more comfortable if they believe nothing can hurt them. It’s also because ill-informed bathroom stockers and managers make decisions based on marketing tactics and not statistics. If you’re really afraid of what lurks unseen on the surface of the seat, then skip the tissue paper and opt instead for some Lysol, hand sanitizer, or sanitizing hand wipes. These can all be easily carried in your purse and applied to the surface with minimal effort. Hey, you can even use it as an excuse to spend more money on Burt’s Bees! Burt's Bees Hand Sanitizer

Now your toilet can be fashionably clean!

You don’t need to avoid the toilet like the plague because it’s not there. However, as an adult, you do need to wipe up your mess if you leave one. Would you let someone pee on your leg? I’m guessing not, so why do you keep peeing on mine? Would you like it if I potty trained my toddler in your bed linens? If not then why do you keep pissing on the toilet seat and causing me to smear your piss all over my underwear and pants? It’s not that your pee carries disease, it’s just that it’s gross. So grow up and either sit your ass on the seat like a good little boy or girl or wipe up when you’re through.

Kind regards,

PS: Don’t forget to flush!

By Thelma

Thelma is a photographer and traveler currently residing in Sydney, Australia. In her free time she can be found with her nose behind a camera or obsessing over koalas.

22 replies on “Open Letter to People Who Pee on Toilet Seats”

Please do not use sanitizers with aloe on toilet seats. Me and everyone else I know who is allergic to aloe thanks you.

Also: this is one of the real reasons I put toilet paper on the seat. Any water/urine drops show up clearly. It also forces me to check for the presence of toilet paper before going potty. It has way more to do with those two factors than germaphobia (moisture-phobia FTW.)

What kills me is that people who pee on the seat ostensibly do so because they’re trying to avoid germs. So why is it that they think that it’s okay for *them* to leave their mess all over the place? If you don’t want to sit on a dry toilet seat, what makes you think someone else wants to sit on one you’ve peed on?

Agreed with everything! This is why I love fancypants airport bathrooms with the rotating plastic seat sheaths. Wasteful as all hell, I know, but it’s as if I don’t appreciate how stressful is it to use the bathroom in public until I don’t need to worry about sitting in someone else’s urine.

Dirty bathrooms just skeeve me out, period.  Private or public – it makes no difference.  When I was much much younger I worked as a cleaning lady in a hotel… and the messes people would leave in their bathrooms…. agh!  Stuff nightmares are made of.

I always wanted to grab these people by the collar and ask “would you leave this sort of a mess at home?”


While I agree that people need to clean up their messes, it is possible to pick up certain bugs from toilet seats (staph, for example). But yeah, the majority of the germs are on the doors, handles, faucets, etc.

Oh, yes: “PS: Don’t forget to flush!”  Why is this so difficult? There are signs all over my work bathroom that say, “Did you flush?” and “STOP. LOOK. FLUSH!”  I think they are funny, but I guess some people need the friendly reminders.

Hm, I looked it up and it appears that staph on toilet seats is not really a big problem with only 3.3% of toilet seats in the study carrying the bacteria:

This link also reminds us that we already have staph on our skin so you shouldn’t be afraid of it unless you have an open wound–in which case I really hope you’re not sharing your butt sores on public toilet seats! :

I really don’t get people who leave their excrements in toilets for other people to see. I mean, really, your hand is already dirty from wiping, why not touch the stupid flusher and get it over with? Or use some toilet paper to touch it with? I do find it kind of amusing though that in busy bathrooms, people will still avoid these stalls with unflushed toilets–even if the line is miles long–because they are afraid of going in. This usually wins me an express pass!

Pee on seats pisses me off (pun intended). I know sometimes it’s the toilet spraying water up; even if it doesn’t catch your butt (ew!) some of them use so much pressure that the water goes all over the seats. Yuck. (Still better than what I found on one of the seats in the unisex bathroom at work one time. One of the guys had apparently had a very fun break! Not a conversation you ever expect to have to have with employees.)

Oh, and I hate when people get out of the stall, use their dirty hand to pull the lever to get a wad of paper towel, and then wash their hands. Yes, the faucets tend to have germs but you just put yours on the thing everyone else touches after they wash up!

Public toilets are often situated much lower than many are used to and, as many stalls lack handrails, it can be very difficult for many elderly, overweight, and/or disabled women to stand after using them. On multiple occasions I have encountered women in public restrooms who were unable to raise themselves off of the toilet. These women were forced to wait until someone else entered the bathroom (one mentioned that she had been waiting nearly thirty minutes!) and then had to rely on a stranger’s willingness to help hoist them up with their pants still around their knees. It is an uncomfortable and embarrassing process to go through. Standing to urinate, though potentially messier, is more easily done for many.

People should of course make an effort to clean up their messes, whatever form they might make, but a little understanding goes a long way when they do not. Perhaps an elderly woman with poor eyesight stood to urinate and did not realize that she left behind a mess. Perhaps someone rushing to catch the bus had literally one minute to get in and out of the bathroom.

I occasionally wonder why there isn’t some sort of urinal option available to women, such as a low, wide basin that could easily be stood or crouched over.

I think a more practical solution would probably be to install more handicapped stalls with hand rails. Speaking from experience, it is really hard to hold yourself up over a squat toilet for extended periods of time. Bending over and down to position one’s self over a basin requires a great amount of balance and agility, and even as a young person, I still sometimes pee on my legs and clothes when doing it. (For context: I’ve spent the last 4.5 years living in Asia where the majority of public toilets are ceramic holes in the ground.) If you’ve got a bad case of the runs, you hardly stand a chance aiming, bending, balancing, and holding your place for 10 minutes. That being said, I am very open to redesigning the toilet, but until then, I still think people need to clean up after themselves.

So true, so true! I’ve always wondered how seats in the women’s room get covered in pee.

I will say that the auto-super-charged-flushers are responsible for some of the mess- it always grosses me out when I stand up and it flushes and then I get wet from that. Ugh.

Anyway, “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.” is not just for preschools anymore!


This is hilarious and ACCURATE. I will say though that a lot of public toilets with super-charged flush power and no lid tend to get splash FROM flushing, not from people peeing on them; you can usually tell the difference between water spray (clear!) versus pee dribbles though (yellow!).

Anyway, seconded, cosigned, and laughed with.

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