Is it rude to leave the toilet lid up whether you’re at home, visiting a friend’s house, or at work? Are you viewed as having bad manners if someone uses the restroom after you and notices that you didn’t put the toilet lid back in its correct position?
We surveyed people in the US to find out if people consider it rude not to put the toilet lid back in place.
Is It Rude to Leave the Toilet Lid Up?
In our survey of 102 people in the United States, 67% of the respondents thought it was rude to leave the toilet lid up. So the majority consider this behavior to be impolite.
That means, they regard it as discourteous to enter someone’s home, use the toilet, and not put the lid back down. They also view it as impolite to not put the lid back in place after using the toilet at work.
Putting the Lid Back in Place Displays Courtesy
Some people aren’t sure exactly why it’s a good idea to put the lid back down. However, they like to see it down. Even this reason should serve as an incentive for someone who wants to display courtesy to others.
If you know that another person prefers something in a particular way and it’s within your power to do it in that way, it’s generally a good idea to meet them halfway.
If you enter another person’s home and observe that the toilet lid is down when you enter the bathroom, ensure that you leave it in the same position in which you found it.
Leaving the Lid Up Can Be a Source of Conflict
Health concerns, aesthetics, and tradition can all influence a person’s decision to keep a toilet lid down in their home. People with pets and small children keep the lid down for safety reasons. These reasons are all important to them and it can cause conflict if you choose to leave the lid up.
Whether you are at home, visiting a friend, or representing your company at a meeting, you should try to remember to put the lid back down.
Perceived rudeness, whether it’s intentional or unconscious, can harm your relationship with others.
Even if you commonly leave the toilet lid up at home and have become accustomed to doing it, you may want to consider changing that habit after reading this article. There are valid reasons why you should put the lid back down.
You may even be banned from using the restroom on your next visit.
The Toilet Lid Is a Boundary
People sometimes view the toilet lid in various ways. For example, some use it as a backrest and forget that it has another core function.
The toilet lid is an important boundary between your home and the sewer system.
While you may not constantly think about it, your toilet serves as a direct connection to the sewage system. So, it potentially connects you to germs from other households. 
The lid helps to keep boundaries in place between your home and germs that are coming from elsewhere. That’s why, whenever you’re purchasing a toilet in the US, it always comes with a lid. That lid is essential.
The Lid Decreases Toilet Aerosols
Several people put the toilet lid down after they finish using it. However, they leave the lid up while they’re flushing. The best practice is actually to close the lid before flushing.
That’s because closing the lid before you flush, reduces toilet plume aerosols. Studies show that aerosols, or fine sprays, may be produced during flushing.  These aerosols have the potential to be infectious.
Aerosolization can continue through several flushes. This means that people who use the toilet after you would be exposed to any bacteria and other disease-causing agents.
The Lid Prevents Contamination of Other Surfaces in Your Bathroom
Even when you’re not actively flushing, evaporation and air currents can distribute germs throughout your bathroom and even your entire home. Studies have shown that enteric viruses can persist in the air after toilet flushing. 
Even if you flush the toilet twice and it looks clear, there is a possibility that bacteria could remain.
Since these are invisible to the naked eye, you shouldn’t assume that they aren’t there. Closing the lid can help to reduce the likelihood of infectious bacteria spreading through the bathroom and your home or office.
Pathogens That Escape from a Toilet Can Survive for Months
Pathogens are bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that can cause diseases. Several pathogens can float in the air from the toilet and land on surfaces in your home. These include the following:
The list isn’t restricted to these. While many people may immediately associate diarrhea with pathogens, there are other ways for germs to enter your toilet.
For example, your spit can contain pathogens. Bodily fluids can also contain pathogens.
Basically, whenever you’re using the toilet, you should bear in mind that your aim is to remove pathogens from your household. Whether you’re ill or think you’re healthy, pathogens could be leaving your body.
Pathogens can survive on surfaces for weeks. If conditions are ideal, they can even survive for months. Putting the lid back in place helps to keep pathogens from spreading through your home.
Keep the Lid Down for Aesthetic Reasons
People may enter the bathroom for several reasons. For example, they may go in there to freshen up their makeup, fix their tie, or brush their teeth.
They might not necessarily want to be reminded of all the activities that could have taken place in the space. By keeping the lid down, the toilet can be thought of as just a part of the decor.
When the lid is up, it’s easier for some people to remember all of the activities that take place in association with it. That’s not always a memory that they want to have. Having the lid in place keeps things in order.
Matt Vargas is an author and public speaking coach with a degree in sociology and more than ten years of practical experience. Matt is responsible for the empirical surveys at everyday-courtesy.com, is a passionate recreational musician, and blogs here about his experiences in the field of interpersonal communication.