Turn off the faucet with a paper towel: Worth it
“The faucet handle is the most contaminated surface in a restroom,” Gerba says. Using the same towel to open the restroom door on the way out is also a good idea.
Skip the hand dryer: Worth it
These machines aren’t only annoyingly loud, but they could be hazardous to your health. Studies find that a jet air dryer spreads 1,300 times more germs than paper towels . Use paper towels if available, or air dry your hands.
Use a paper toilet seat cover: Not worth it
A water park full of kids can have 22 pounds of poop floating around. Youngsters can carry as much as 10 grams of leftover feces on their rear ends. They don’t wash it off before they jump in, either, and all that poop just rinses off into the pool. It adds up, and chlorine doesn’t kill everything. The result: E. coli, which can cause bloody diarrhea. Your best line of defense? Try not to swallow any water.
The porcelain throne is actually one of the cleanest spots of a public restroom because they’re often cleaned with disinfectants, Gerba says.
If it gives you peace of mind, go for it, but that thin piece of paper isn’t going to do much good, since fluid can go right through it, says Philip Tierno, PhD, microbiologist and clinical professor of pathology at New York University. But chances are good you’re not going to come in contact with anything that can infect you, he says.