A New Form of v’Nishmartem: Flush With the Toilet Cover Down


by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com

There is such a thing as tzo’ah-oral transmission, and we should all watch out for it.

According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, there is another form of viral transmission that we should be looking out to eliminate.

It has already been established that COVID-19 can be spread by fecal-oral transmission which is why experts have strongly emphasized the importance of washing hands after one exits the restroom.  But now it has been established that it can also be spread by “aerosolized fecal matter droplets.”

The phenomenon is called “toilet plume” which means that stool or urine can escape into the air from the toilet and spread disease,

Qingyan Chen, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, told Forbes there’s one “very easy way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus: Close the lid and then flush.. 80% of particles that escape from fecal matter into the air can be prevented by closing the lid when flushing,” Chen told Forbes.

A study from the City University of Hong Kong found that: “A toilet flush can release up to 80,000 polluted droplets and leave them suspended three feet in the air for hours if the lid is left up,” according to the South China Morning Post.

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  1. Rabbi, For years I have been telling my husband to put down the seat. Maybe now that he sees a psak din of v’nishmartem, he will finally comply. If he needs to put down the lid, the seat will come down too. (Bichlal mo’sayim mona – 200 includes 100). Hope this becomes a minhag yisroel – torah.

  2. Thanks.

    I have been doing this for a long time already.

    It is advisable in general, not only due to the Corona virus situation.

    Maybe some people can create nice sign(s), GIF’s, etc., promoting this practice, so it can go viral very soon. 🙂

  3. Public toilets, especially with auto-flush, don’t have lids! Should one not use a public toilet? Is the risk doche the issur of ba’al t’shaktzu?


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