Warning over 'disgusting' nighttime toilet habit that's 'hygiene hazard'

Hand flush toilet
-Credit: (Image: Getty)


Not flushing the toilet during the night for fear of waking people up could cause a host of bathroom-related issues that outweigh the disturbing noise, according to a plumbing expert. The debate on whether to pull the chain or push the flush button during sleeping hours is one that rages in millions of households across the country.

Many opinions are based on how likely it is to wake up family members or flatmates, others claim it is an environmentally conscious choice to save water. But Jennifer Shaw from Plumbworld warns that some factors could make many people think twice about not flushing - including unpleasant smells and attracting flies.

One woman took to the internet forum Mumsnet to reveal her arguments with her partner because he refuses to send his wee down the pan in the hours of darkness.

She said: “My husband always goes to the toilet (No.1) in the night and doesn’t flush. I’ve asked him repeatedly to please flush as it doesn’t wake me or the children up and I find it really disgusting to find wee in the toilet in the morning.

“Me and the children rarely go to the toilet in the night, but on the rare occasions we do I always flush after. He says this wakes him up and I’m being unreasonable. I don’t want to budge and think he’s being unreasonable."

Jennifer said it often came down to personal preference, but leaving urine in the toilet for hours can create problems.

She explained: “The first thing is the odour it can leave for those using the bathroom first thing in the morning. No one wants to brush their teeth accompanied by the stench of pee.

“It can also multiply germs and bacteria if not flushed straight away. Contrary to popular opinion, urine is not sterile and therefore if left can create a hygiene hazard.

“Especially during the summer months when bathroom windows are left open during the night, a non-flushing habit can attract flies and other insects - not something people want when they are jumping in the shower ahead of a busy day. From a cleaning point of view, leaving urine to stand will lead to a build-up of mineral deposits that will take some shifting. And the increased moisture could also create a bathroom environment more prone to mould and mildew.”

Jennifer also reminded people of the importance of closing the toilet seat before they flush, to stop the worrying spread of germs.

She added: “There is a phenomenon called ‘toilet plume’ that causes droplets to spray out across the bathroom when it is flushed. These droplets can contain bacteria such as Norovirus, SARS and E. coli and can contaminate objects including towels and toothbrushes. Keeping the toilet lid closed will reduce this effect by around 50 per cent, so it’s well worth encouraging all family members to abide by this simple rule to prevent the spread of nasty germs.”