Toilet Plumes

Laser illumination reveals the plume of aerosol particles from the flush of a typical public toilet.

Toilet flushes are gross. We’ve seen it before, though not in the same detail as this study. Here, researchers illuminate the spray from the flush of a typical commercial toilet, like those found in many public restrooms. They found that flushing generates a plume of droplets that reaches 1.5 meters in under 8 seconds, producing many thousands of droplets across a range of sizes.

The experiments were conducted in a ventilated lab space, and the flushes involved only clean water — no fecal matter or toilet paper — so they don’t perfectly mimic the confines of a public toilet stall. But the implications are still pretty gross. Without a lid to contain the flush’s spray, these energetic toilets are spraying droplets capable of carrying COVID, influenza, and other nastiness all over our bathrooms. (Image and research credit: J. Crimaldi et al.; via Gizmodo)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: