When the coronavirus (Covid-19) hit the world, people started purchasing massive amounts of things to stay prepared to quarantine in their homes. One of those things was toilet paper. It made the news both locally and nationally.
Why did people hoard toilet paper? Most think fear, naturally. They were worried they would not be able to buy any for some unspecified amount of time which strained locally available supplies in all areas of the world, only fueling the panic buying. (Some research has shown it wasn’t fear, but something else.)
Fear and concern has people wondering about Covid-19 and portable restrooms, so we decided to answer those questions.
Actually, because they don’t flush, one could reason that portable toilets are slightly safer than regular or otherwise flushing public toilets. We know, that sounds surprising to most of you - hear us out.
There is research that shows flushing creates an aerosol from the water in the bowl that spreads the water -- as well as bacteria and viruses, including Covid-19 -- into the air of a room. In fact, many public toilets don’t even have lids, so you can’t close them to avoid the effect.
Can you get covid from a porta potty? Well, the waste inside of a porta potty is safe as long as it is below the line of the infamous blue water in the tank. The chemicals in that blue stuff kill bacteria and viruses, and without an aerosolized flush, they aren’t getting into the air of the unit.
(Although the same research also says they are unsure if the particles in the air would be enough to actually make you sick. They are still studying that part of it.)
Ultimately, what it comes down to, really, is what you do after you use the bathroom, regardless of if it’s a porta potty or a regular toilet.
Why wash? Washing your hands has been shown to destroy various types of germs that can make us very sick, such as Norovirus, Salmonella, and E. Coli, to name a few.
Since this simple method is so effective at keeping us away from the germs that can cause us to get so sick, washing our hands is recommended during this pandemic as well.
Because one of the ways to spread covid-19 is through droplets that can be transferred from our mouths, eyes, and noses to our hands, washing our hands frequently can help prevent that transfer.
The MIT Medical School’s director of student health, Dr. Shawn Ferullo, has this to say: “Hand washing, especially after using the restroom, is a powerful weapon against all of these illness-causing germs.”
Maybe this term is new for you, maybe not (like ‘social distancing’, it may be new, but you may start using it a lot after you read this). But it seems this simple rule may also help in times where you have to use a public bathroom.
The folks at MIT have also stated that “flush and rush” - the act of flushing and then quickly leaving a public restroom - is a good strategy, stopping only long enough to wash your hands thoroughly.
You may be able to apply the same logic to a visit at a portable toilet, though many times, you won’t be visiting a flushing porta potty. By not spending extra time in the toilet, you may actually be saving yourself exposure to viruses like Covid-19.
Washing your hands after you use the restroom whether it’s a porta potty or not, is always a safe and surefire way to help keep yourself healthy.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, there is no specific concrete evidence to say that porta potties are safer during the era of Covid-19. However, there is also no evidence to say they are not.
In fact, there is more research to say that the typical flushing public toilet is more of a danger of spreading the coronavirus (among other illnesses) than a porta potty, as long as you are taking care to wash your hands after you use the toilet.
So at the end of the day, as long as you are taking the proper precautions and washing your hands after using the bathroom, your use of porta potties is up to you.
Need porta potties and/or handwashing stations at your special event? Get a free quote. We have multiple unit options available for you to choose from.
Construction Units, High-Rise Units, Urinals, Special Event Units, VIP Trailers… We’ve got ‘em all! And that’s just restrooms - we also offer sinks, fencing, holding tanks, water tanks, office containers, and storage containers.