It may make you squeamish to see someone wear shoes indoors or leave their socks on in bed. But have you ever considered how nasty it is to flush the toilet with the lid open?

Let’s just say — it’s gross. It’s up to 15-feet high of “toilet plume” gross. Meaning, that when you flush without closing the lid, particles from the waste in your toilet can shoot up to 15 feet in the air, landing on the surrounding walls, floor, and you.

So while you think that one flick of the lever sends your business swirling down the drain to become someone else’s problem, an uncomfortable amount of it is actually sticking around. Scarier still is that airborne E coli can be viable for four to six hours on a surface.

What about low-flow toilets? Research shows that while these toilets may produce less of a poop-plume, they still contribute to the gag-inducing results. And it’s not just that poo is gross to have spread throughout your bathroom (and potentially home) — according to the American Journal of Infection Control, the role of toilet plume could play a substantial role in the transmission of airborne diseases such as norovirus, SARS, and pandemic influenza.

The simplest fix is to close the lid when you flush.

But what about the pushback from your family members who don’t like to put the lid down? Try these arguments on for size:

  • Putting the lid down is good etiquette.
  • Putting the lid down cuts down on how often you need to clean the bathroom.
  • Putting the lid down means you don’t have to breathe in poo particles.
  • Putting the lid down looks better.
  • Putting the lid down will make you happy.
  • Plus, putting the lid down only takes a few minutes. So, why not do it.

Get the ultimate guide to cleaning your toilet.