Toilet seat

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A Bemis Manufacturing Company seat and lid for a flush toilet Toilet seat 600x980.jpg
A Bemis Manufacturing Company seat and lid for a flush toilet

A toilet seat is a hinged unit consisting of a round or oval open seat, and usually a lid, which is bolted onto the bowl of a toilet used in a sitting position (as opposed to a squat toilet). The seat can be either for a flush toilet or a dry toilet. A toilet seat consists of the seat itself, which may be contoured for the user to sit on, and the lid, which covers the toilet when it is not in use – the lid may be absent in some cases, particularly in public restrooms.



A toilet seat in the upright position Toilet, wall and floor tiles in a bathroom in a hotel in Hordaland, Norway 2018-03-20 A.jpg
A toilet seat in the upright position

Toilet seats often have a lid. This lid is frequently left open. The combined toilet seat and lid may be kept in a closed position when a toilet is not in use, making it so—at a minimum—the lid must be raised prior to use. It can be closed to prevent small items from falling in, reduce odors, or provide a chair in the toilet room for aesthetic purposes. Some studies show that closing the lid prevents the spread of aerosols on flushing ("toilet plume"), which might be a source of disease transmission. [1]

Depending on the sex of the user and type of use (urination or defecation) the seat itself may be left either up or down. The issue of whether the seat and lid should be placed in the closed position after use is a perennial topic of discussion and light humor (usually across gender lines), with it often being argued that leaving the toilet seat up is more efficient for men, while putting it down is more considerate for women. The "right answer" seems to depend on factors ranging from the location of the toilet (public or private), the population of the users (e.g. a sorority house vs frat house) and/or personal or family values, opinions, preferences, agreements or toiletry habits. [2] [3]

Toilet seats often rest not directly on the porcelain or metal body of the toilet itself but upon the hinges and upon tabs/spacers affixed at a few spots. Similarly, lids do not rest directly in uniform contact with the seat but are elevated while above it by the hinges and tabs/spacers affixed at a few spots. This is a possible area where effluent aerosols can be spread when shut.


Toilet seats are manufactured in a range of different styles and colors, and they may be furnished matching the style of the toilet itself. They are usually built to fit the shape of the toilet bowl: two examples of this being the elongated bowl and the regular bowl. Some toilet seats are fitted with slow-closing hinges to reduce noise by preventing them from slamming against the bowl.

Some seats are made of various types of wooden materials, like oak or walnut, and others are made soft for added comfort. Seats with printed multi-colored designs, such as floral or newsprint, have been fashionable at times. Other designs are made of transparent plastic, encapsulating small decorative items such as seashells or coins. The price of toilet seats varies quite considerably.

Decorative textile covers for the toilet seat lid have gone in and out of fashion. Advocates claim that they allow the toilet to be used as a more comfortable seat and provide another way of decorating a bathroom. At the same time, critics view them as a sanitation problem which creates unnecessary work.

Some metal toilets, such as those in many jails and prisons, have built-in toilet seats that cannot be removed, so that an inmate cannot fashion it into a weapon, shield or escape tool.

Open front toilet seats

An open front airplane toilet seat, with notices instructing users to not flush rubbish down the toilet, and to keep the toilet seat clean for the next user China Airlines Zhong Hua Hang Kong toilet interior Feb-2013.JPG
An open front airplane toilet seat, with notices instructing users to not flush rubbish down the toilet, and to keep the toilet seat clean for the next user

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials' Uniform Plumbing Code, section 409.2.2, requires that "all water closet seats, except those within dwelling units or for private use, shall be of the open front type". There is an exception for toilets with an automatic toilet-seat cover dispenser. The code is followed by most public authorities, so many public toilets feature open front toilet seats (also called "split seats"). [4]

The purpose for this seat design is to prevent genitals contacting the seat. It also omits an area of the seat that could be contaminated with urine and avoids contact for easier wiping. [4]

Modern design, electronic integration, and function


A slow-close seat uses special hinges to prevent the seat from slamming down. Special hinges provide resistance, allowing the seat to lower slowly.


High-tech toilet seats may include many features, including a heated seat, a bidet, and a blow drier. High-tech seats are most common in Japan, where a seat with integrated bidets is colloquially called a Washlet, after a leading brand. Electrically heated toilet seats have been popular in Japan since the 1970s. Since Japanese bathrooms are often unheated, the toilet seat sometimes doubles as a space heater. Integrated bidets date from around 1980, and have since become very popular in Japan, and are becoming more common in most other developed countries.

Water-heated seats[ citation needed ] were in use in royal homes in Britain in the twentieth century. The first electrically-heated toilet seat was manufactured by Cyril Reginald Clayton at St Leonard's on Sea in Sussex. A UK patent was applied for on 5 January 1959, filing on 4 January 1960 and granted in August 1963 (UK patent no. 934209). The first model, the 'Deluxete', was made of fiberglass with a heating element in the lid triggered by a mercury switch that warmed the seat when the lid was down. Subsequent improvements were made and another UK patent applied for, this time for a deodorizing model with integral fan on 20 May 1970. It was granted on 17 May 1972 (UK patent no. 1260402). At first marketed as the 'Deodar', this model was later sold as the 'Readywarm'. Among the early users of the 'Deluxete' was racing driver Stirling Moss. With the permission of Reginald Clayton, the electrically-heated seat was further developed by the Japanese firm Matsushita. In 1993, Matt DiRoberto of Worcester, Massachusetts invented the padded toilet seat, an early 1990s fad.

Seatless toilet

A seatless toilet has no toilet seat. It may be much cleaner and easier to clean than toilet seats, while the structurally sound and hard rim of a porcelain toilet bowl still allows sitting. [5] Users not aware of the possibility to sit on this type of toilet may hover over. [6]

Disposable covers

Salesman's case with an original 1943 Thomasa Seat Cover Dispenser Coin-Operated Toilet Seat Cover Dispenser.jpg
Salesman's case with an original 1943 Thomasa Seat Cover Dispenser

A disposable piece of paper, shaped like the toilet seat itself and known as a disposable toilet seat cover or toilet sheet, can be placed on the seat. Its purpose is to make the toilet user feel more reassured that they are protected from germs. [7] The first known patented model of the toilet seat cover dispenser dates back to 1942 and was invented by J.C. Thomasa.[ citation needed ]

While toilet seat covers give public toilet users a sense of cleanliness, studies have shown they are not needed as there are few germs on a toilet seat, and infections such as salmonella are spread via the hands, not the buttocks. [7]

Society and culture


The toilet seat functions as a comic standby for sight gags relating to toilet humor. The most common is someone staggering out of a toilet room after an explosion with a toilet seat around his neck. In the television show Dead Like Me , George Lass, the main character, is killed when a zero-G toilet seat from space station Mir re-enters the atmosphere.

US Navy's "$600 Toilet Seat"

The P-3C Orion antisubmarine aircraft went into service in 1962. Twenty-five years later, in 1987, it was determined that the toilet shroud, the cover that fits over the toilet, needed replacement. Since the airplane was out of production this would require new tooling to produce. These on-board toilets required a uniquely shaped, molded fiberglass shroud that had to satisfy specifications for vibration resistance, weight, and durability. The molds had to be specially made, as it had been decades since their original production. The price reflected the design work and the cost of the equipment to manufacture them. Lockheed Corporation charged $34,560 for 54 toilet covers, or $640 each. [8]

President Ronald Reagan held a televised news conference in 1987, where he held up one of these shrouds and stated: "We didn't buy any $600 toilet seat. We bought a $600 molded plastic cover for the entire toilet system." A Pentagon spokesman, Glenn Flood stated, "The original price we were charged was $640, not just for a toilet seat, but for the large molded plastic assembly covering the entire seat, tank and full toilet assembly. The seat itself cost $9 and some cents.… The supplier charged too much, and we had the amount corrected." [9] The president of Lockheed at the time, Lawrence Kitchen, adjusted the price to $100 each and returned $29,165. "This action is intended to put to rest an artificial issue," Kitchen stated. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toilet paper</span> Tissue paper for cleaning after defecation or urination

Toilet paper is a tissue paper product primarily used to clean the anus and surrounding region of feces, and to clean the external genitalia and perineal area of urine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bathroom</span> Room for personal hygiene activities, such as showering

A bathroom, restroom or washroom is a room, typically in a home or other residential building, that contains either a bathtub or a shower. The inclusion of a sink is common. In parts of the world e.g. India, a toilet is typically included in the bathroom; in others, the toilet is typically given a dedicated room separate from the one allocated for personal hygiene activities. In the United States and Canada, the word "bathroom" is often used to refer to any room that contains a toilet, regardless of the inclusion of a bath or shower.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flush toilet</span> Toilet that uses water to convey human waste down a pipe

A flush toilet is a toilet that disposes of human waste by using the force of water to flush it through a drainpipe to another location for treatment, either nearby or at a communal facility, thus maintaining a separation between humans and their waste. Flush toilets can be designed for sitting or squatting, in the case of squat toilets. Most modern sewage treatment systems are also designed to process specially designed toilet paper. The opposite of a flush toilet is a dry toilet, which uses no water for flushing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bidet</span> Plumbing fixture or type of sink intended for washing the genitalia and anus of the human body

A bidet is a bowl or receptacle designed to be sat upon in order to wash a person's genitalia, perineum, inner buttocks, and anus. The modern variety has a plumbed-in water supply and a drainage opening, and is thus a plumbing fixture subject to local hygiene regulations. The bidet is designed to promote personal hygiene and is used after defecation, and before and after sexual intercourse. It can also be used to wash feet, with or without filling it up with water. In several European countries, a bidet is now required by law to be present in every bathroom containing a toilet bowl. It was originally located in the bedroom, near the chamber-pot and the marital bed, but in modern times is located near the toilet bowl in the bathroom. Fixtures that combine a toilet seat with a washing facility include the electronic bidet.

A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to a plumbing system to deliver and drain water.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Squat toilet</span> Toilet used by squatting

A squat toilet is a toilet used by squatting, rather than sitting. This means that the posture for defecation and for female urination is to place one foot on each side of the toilet drain or hole and to squat over it. There are several types of squat toilets, but they all consist essentially of a toilet pan or bowl at floor level. Such a toilet pan is also called a "squatting pan". A squat toilet may use a water seal and therefore be a flush toilet, or it can be without a water seal and therefore be a dry toilet. The term "squat" refers only to the expected defecation posture and not any other aspects of toilet technology, such as whether it is water flushed or not.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toilets in Japan</span>

Toilets in Japan are sometimes designed more elaborately than toilets commonly seen in other developed nations. European toilets occasionally have a separate bidet whilst Japan combines an electronic bidet with the toilet. The current state of the art for Western-style toilets in Japan is the bidet toilet, which as of March 2016 is installed in 81% of Japanese households. In Japan, these bidets are commonly called washlets, a brand name of Toto Ltd., and they may include many advanced features rarely seen outside of Asia. The basic feature set commonly found on washlets consists of anal hygiene, bidet washing, seat warming, and deodorization.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Washlet</span> Toilet by the Japanese company Toto

Washlet is a Japanese line of cleansing toilet seats manufactured and sold by the company Toto. The electronic bidet features a water spray element for genital and anal cleansing. and commonly appears on toilets all over on Japan. Released in June 1980, more than 60 million Washlet units have been sold as of January 2022.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Closure (container)</span> Devices and techniques used to close or seal a bottle, jug, jar, tube, can, etc.

A closure is a device used to close or seal a container such as a bottle, jug, jar, tube, or can. A closure may be a cap, cover, lid, plug, liner, or the like. The part of the container to which the closure is applied is called the finish.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chemical toilet</span> A toilet that collects human excreta in a holding tank and uses chemicals to minimize odors

A chemical toilet collects human excreta in a holding tank and uses chemicals to minimize odors. They do not require a connection to a water supply and are used in a variety of situations. These toilets are usually, but not always, self-contained and movable. A chemical toilet is structured around a relatively small tank, which requires frequent emptying. It is not connected to a hole in the ground, nor to a septic tank, nor is it plumbed into a municipal system leading to a sewage treatment plant. When the tank is emptied, the contents are usually pumped into a sanitary sewer or directly to a treatment plant.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">G.I. Joe: America's Movable Fighting Man</span>

G.I. Joe: America's Movable Fighting Man is a line of action figures produced by Hasbro. The initial product offering represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces. The term G.I. stands, in popular usage, for Government Issue and became a generic term for U.S. soldiers, especially ground forces. The term originated in WWI, when much of the government-issued equipment was stamped "G.I.", meaning that it was made from galvanized iron. The development of G.I. Joe led to the coining of the term "action figure".

Anal hygiene or anal cleansing refers to the practices that are performed on a person's anus to maintain hygiene, usually in the aftermath of defecation. Post-defecation cleansing is rarely discussed academically, partly due to the social taboo surrounding it. The scientific objective of post-defecation cleansing is to prevent exposure to pathogens. The process of post-defecation cleansing involves either washing the anus and inner part of the buttocks with water. Water-based cleansing typically involves either the use of running water from a handheld vessel and a hand for washing or the use of pressurized water through a jet device, such as a bidet. In either method, subsequent hand sanitization is essential to achieve the ultimate objectives of post-defecation cleansing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Close stool</span> Early type of portable toilet

A close stool was an early type of portable toilet, made in the shape of a cabinet or box at sitting height with an opening in the top. The external structure contained a pewter or earthenware chamberpot to receive the user's excrement and urine when they sat on it; this was normally covered (closed) by a folding lid. "Stool" has two relevant meanings: as a type of seat and as human feces. Close stools were used from the Middle Ages until the introduction of the indoor flush toilet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toilet</span> Piece of hardware for the collection or disposal of human excreta

A toilet is a piece of sanitary hardware that collects human urine and feces, and sometimes toilet paper, usually for disposal. Flush toilets use water, while dry or non-flush toilets do not. They can be designed for a sitting position popular in Europe and North America with a toilet seat, with additional considerations for those with disabilities, or for a squatting posture more popular in Asia, known as a squat toilet. In urban areas, flush toilets are usually connected to a sewer system; in isolated areas, to a septic tank. The waste is known as blackwater and the combined effluent, including other sources, is sewage. Dry toilets are connected to a pit, removable container, composting chamber, or other storage and treatment device, including urine diversion with a urine-diverting toilet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bidet shower</span> Hand-held triggered nozzle

A bidet shower—also known as a handheld bidet, commode shower, toilet shower, health faucet, bum shower, jet spray, Hand ShowerMuslim shower, shatafa or bum gun—is a hand-held triggered nozzle that is placed near the toilet and delivers a spray of water used for anal cleansing and cleaning of the genitals after using the toilet for defecation and urination, popularised by Arab nations where the bidet shower is a common bathroom accessory. The device is similar to that of a kitchen sink sprayer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clamshell (container)</span> Type of consumer product packaging

A clamshell is a one-piece container consisting of two halves joined by a hinge area which allows the structure to come together to close. Clamshells can be made to be reusable and reclosable or can be sealed securely.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toilet (room)</span> Room for privately accessing a toilet, and often handwashing sink

A toilet is a small room used for privately accessing the sanitation fixture (toilet) for urination and defecation. Toilet rooms often include a sink (basin) with soap/handwash for handwashing, as this is important for personal hygiene. These rooms are typically referred to in North America as half-bathrooms in a private residence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Electronic bidet</span> Nozzle attached to an existing toilet, or a part of the toilet itself

An electronic bidet is a seat attached to an existing toilet or a part of the toilet itself, with a nozzle to squirt a jet of warm water for cleaning the anus and female genitals, electrically powered and with electronic controls. It replaces the conventional bidet, a separate plumbing fixture not attached to a toilet. Some bidets of this type have one adjustable nozzle on the side rim for anus and genital areas, or two nozzles on the back rim, a shorter "family nozzle" for washing the area around the anus, and a longer "bidet nozzle" for women to wash their vulva.

A deodorizing toilet seat is a toilet seat that comes with integrated air purifier and air freshener solutions to combat bad odors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intelligent toilet</span> Toilet with built-in technology for hygiene, comfort and health

An intelligent toilet or smart toilet is a bathroom plumbing fixture or type of electronic bidet toilet which incorporates traditional bidet cleansing, with the added enhancement of modern SMART home technology.


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  2. Choi 2011.
  3. Siddiqi 2006.
  4. 1 2 Vanhoenacker, Mark (23 April 2013). "What's That Thing? U-Shaped Toilet Seat Edition". Slate magazine . Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  5. "Where is the Seat? Seatless Toilets". Toilets of the World. 2010s. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  6. Dixon, Scott R. (3 November 2013). "12 toilet oddities around the world that surprise Japan". SoraNews24. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  7. 1 2 Mary Roach (19 May 2000). "Ladies who spray". Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. 1 2 "Adjusting the Bottom Line". Time. 18 February 1985. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008.
  9. "But It Would Be Wrong" By: William Safire The San Francisco Chronicle Sunday, 10 April 1986

Further reading