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Flushing a dirty toilet bowl can actually spread germs

/ 01:37 AM December 28, 2016

The next time you need to use the toilet, thank your lucky stars. While most of us take the toilet for granted until we have to go, billions of people around the world still have no access to one, says the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). This results in unhygienic practices, which in turn lead to a host of diseases that affects millions.

But access to toilet facilities doesn’t exempt anyone from illness, either. According to the WHO, 443 million school days (or one month of school for every child in the Philippines) are missed because of germs from unsanitary toilet bowls.

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Contrary to popular belief, germs aren’t spread by sitting on a bowl—it’s what happens after sitting that puts you at risk. Flushing the toilet produces a mist from the water that can rise up to six feet high. This mist carries and spreads the bacteria and viruses of diseases like E. coli, streptococcus, shigella and tuberculosis.

Keeping the toilet bowl clean, therefore, is key, and on World Toilet Day, a United Nations day of observance held last Nov. 19, Domex, with its partners Unicef, Maxicare and Philippine Public Health Association (PPHA), embarked on a campaign “to educate people on the importance of proper toilet sanitation to help prevent diseases,” says Domex brand manager Patricia Deyto-Santos.

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Since the launch of its “One Million Clean Toilets” movement in 2013, Domex and its partners have provided hospitals under PPHA and their patients with educational materials, proper toilet cleaning training, and samples of Domex, a specialized toilet cleaner.

Bent nozzle

“In the Philippines, most households use bleach and a laundry detergent to clean their toilets,” says Deyto-Santos. “While it keeps the toilet clean, it doesn’t keep it germ-free.”

Domex contains sodium hypochlorite, a potent oxidizing agent known to kill all types of germs, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. Its bent nozzle allows you to reach and clean neglected, germ-filled areas, like under the bowl’s rim.

One hundred times thicker than ordinary bleach, Domex leaves toilet bowls cleaner and protected from germs for up to seven flushes (whereas bleach lasts only for two).

Besides regularly and thoroughly cleaning your toilet bowl with Domex, Deyto-Santos recommends flushing the toilet with every use. Make sure your cleaning tools are spic and span, too.

Amor Montefalcon-Prieto, Domex’s research and development manager, suggests replacing sponges and brushes once they look worn out, and applying Domex on the toilet bowl brush’s holder to disinfect the brush when not in use.

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Meanwhile, practicing good hygiene is the most you can do when using a public restroom; wash and wipe your hands after doing your business. “Protect yourself and don’t spread germs,” says Deyto-Santos. —CONTRIBUTED

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TAGS: Hygiene, Lifestyle, toilet, toilet bowl, World Health Organization
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