Putting paper down to cover a toilet seat before using is not only useless but also may be less hygienic, according to health experts. The act of placing down toilet paper will not actually stop the spread of germs, and the chances of catching an infection from using a toilet is not likely at all.
Kelly Reynolds, a public health researcher at the University of Arizona, explains that bacteria and viruses that would be on the seat are minuscule so would be able to pass through the relatively large holes in the cover's paper anyway.
Reynolds adds that real risk of infection stems from germs spreading after you flush in what is known as "toilet plume". Reynolds explained to THV11 that "bits of faecal matter settle on surfaces, contaminate hands and then get spread to the eyes, nose or mouth".
The findings have previously been reported by other experts. Dr William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center explained to the Huffington Post that putting paper on a seat won't stop you from catching anything as "toilet seats are not a vehicle for the transmission of any infectious agents".
Raymond Martin, managing director British Toilet Association (BTA), added to Buzzfeed "placing toilet paper on the seat actually increases the surface area for germs to multiply and therefore is considerably less hygienic".
In what shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, Reynolds says to best way to fend off any germs you may come into contact with after using the toilet is simply to wash your hands afterwards.