You’ve probably heard that, by flushing your toilet, you unleash an armada of airborne poo particles (henceforth: pooticles) into the air, which then dive-bomb everything within the blast radius.
It sounds like the stuff of a horrifying urban legend, like alligators in the sewers or organ pirates harvesting your kidneys.
Pooticles on your toothbrush, however, is a real thing.
First, the bad news: thanks to the so-called aerosol effect, a flushing toilet disperses an invisible cloud of diluted pee and microscopic pooticles into your bathroom, some of which then nestles snugly into the warm, moist bristles of your toothbrush.
How do we know for sure? The same way anyone knows anything for sure these days: the Mythbusters confirmed it.
Adam Savage (the geeky ginger one) and Jamie Hyneman (the walrus in the beret) placed 24 toothbrushes in and around a bathroom, and then let nature take its course for a while. The result: pooticles — or fecal coliform, if you want to be a nerd — turned up on all 24 toothbrushes.
Now, the less-bad news: The Mythbusters also discovered that pooticles are literally everywhere — on practically every surface you touch, every morsel of food you eat, every pair of lips you kiss… you get it.
Pooticles occur naturally in the human body, and they’re utterly unavoidable outside of it. For the most part, they’re harmless.
Should you still make an effort to keep your toothbrush clean and away from your toilet’s eruption zone? Sure, if it makes you feel better.
But keep in mind that the pooticles on your toothbrush are among the bazillions you encounter — and probably ingest — every single day.
Try to think of it as part of the grand, beautiful circle of life.
Or just try not to think about it.