Why Put Toilet Seat (and Lid) Down? Because Mom (and Feng Shui) Says So.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 9, 2009
get elephant's newsletter

I was raised by a single mom, so it’s a matter of habit. Most husbands and boyfriends out there have probably been similarly trained. But I’m always struck at how few gents put the lid down when I have parties or dinners at my house—and I say to myself,

Self, why do you put the lid down?

It’s not just ’cause momma told me to.

It’s because, in feng shui, water symbolizes wealth, career. Flushing wealth down a pipe is bad enough…so, from a feng shui p.o.v, covering it with a lid lessens the visual, and therefore the symbolic impact—just as hanging a mobile, bell, mirror, crystal or a plant or a Noren (doorway Japanese curtain), break up the flow of the mind’s speed.

Like elephant journal on Facebook

Photo at top: “The most famous toilet in Rock n’Roll, inducing instant constipation in club-goers for decades.” CBGB.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


31 Responses to “Why Put Toilet Seat (and Lid) Down? Because Mom (and Feng Shui) Says So.”

  1. John Joseph says:

    An ex-girlfriend trained me to put the seat down: she complained that leaving it up made her nearly fall through the toilet in the middle of the night.
    Now the habit is automatic, but for untrained men, you just need a strong woman in you life to train you.

  2. no_no_no_no says:

    I have to disagree. Two reasons:

    1) A seat that is down may not be picked up by a guy who goes pee -> wet (and just gross) seat. It's protecting the piece that women have to sit on.

    2) "I almost fell in the toilet," is a phrase that no self-respecting human should ever say. When do you ever sit down without looking at what's in your butt's direction?!

  3. Ali says:

    I am a firm believer than any guy worth his weight in “potential suitor” salt puts the seat AND the lid down. I’ve lost so many a crush instantly once i realized that the he-of-my-crush left one or both up. it’s really just a prime exhibit of and the natural extension of having his financial/emotional/fitness/etc. sh*t together.

    this was a fabulous blogpost, BTW. 😉

  4. sj* says:

    only in the West are there lids and seat and all the trappings. maybe we should resort to what’s normal for most of the world- a hole in the earth or even a standing facility for any and all to do what needs to be done- sans boujie porcelain. i will spare others further details on my “throne” thesis. but we can thank the Brits for this one i believe…

  5. paula says:

    i am a firm believer in the fact that the toilet should stay closed. only part of it is because it’s a habit or that feng shui says i should. mostly i just find it offensive to come into a bathroom having the part of the toilet that catches urine and excrament staring out at me. also when people don’t keep it sparkling it can be a detriment to my ability to make use of said toilet. but if it’s closed when i walk in i am much more comfortable and things flow the way they should.

  6. timmy d'Antonio says:

    and what’s even worse is when a guy stinks up the bathroom, leaves the door wide open with no fan on AND leaves the seat/lid up!!! i have been trained and this just disgusts me! wake up guys!!!

  7. Concerned says:

    Yeah… if the lid is down, the woman might hurt her butt crashing down on it.

  8. Tamara says:

    Ahh now I’m gonna have to write that feng shui for your bathroom piece aren’t I? Why not link back to the recent feng shui for your office piece in your recommended list. I hear it was pretty good. 😉

  9. Tamara says:

    Mirror goes behind the bowl under the tank of the toilet on the floor facing up. Obviously a small mirror.

    Crystal goes above the toilet.

    Hardware stores sell self closing toilet lids. Love em!

  10. CMS says:

    There is also the issue that some studies have shown that when you flush a toliet, the spray can shoot out up to 10 feet from the toliet. As a germaphobe, that alone to me is enough reason to keep both the lid and the seat down.

  11. Chet says:

    Keeping it closed lessens evaporative losses, prevents bathroom items from falling in, and keeps the dog from drinking out of it. My experience is women will put and leave the seat down but are at least as slack as men about lowering the lid.

  12. elephantjournal says:

    This is one modern convenience I give thanks for. ~ W.

  13. elephantjournal says:

    Chuck Lawhead AND the lid. Definitely.

    John Levis Yes, the lid MUST be down. This is not a gender thing. I can't stand it when the lid is left up, it just feels wrong and the ladies never put it down. It just feels wrong to leave it up, glad to see that I'm not the only one who feels that way, but apparently the only one on my house…

    Sabine Satie Good on you for putting the seat down. Better yet- sit down!

    Karki Meade The action of flushing creates a vacuum that takes most of the stuff in the toilet away. It also creates a fine aerosol mist that rises from the toilet and… yeah, you probably want to shut that thing.

    http://www.straightdope.co​m/columns/read/1317/… for those who don't mind some loss of appetite. And that's okay, since the kitchen has even worse germ issues.

    Betty MacDonald If the lid is closed your toothbrush can't accidentally fall in!

  14. Yuna says:

    Also, it is practical. My mother has a cabinet above the toilet. Whenever I reach to get something out during my visit, I always knock a thing or two off the shelf. If the lid is open, well, things fall into the toilet. EWWWW! If it is closed, they just bounce off and I pick them up.

  15. Lezlee says:

    I am one of the few women I know (in my group) that Always closes the lid no matter where I am – yes, not only at friends houses, also in restaurants, pubs etc! I guess it's a force of habit though I consider it a clean habit and worthy of doing. It annoys me when people use my bathroom, find the lid down when they go in yet always leave it up when they leave and guys often leave the seat up too, yeuck!

  16. smellen says:

    yeah, cuz I don't want those micro-particles that shoot in the air 10 feet from the toilet landing on my toothbrush!

  17. […] #4. This one’s more mindful, or spiritual, but leave the toilet seat down. And, lid. Why? Well, read this, and read the comment about the aerosol spray, too. […]

  18. yogijulian says:

    really?! keep the toilet seat down because a quaint OCD sounding superstition says it will influence your wealth and career? i may just leave it up on principle then to prove what nonsense that is! 🙂

  19. yogijulian says:

    always wear underwear, because your mother says so and your astrology says you might get in a car accident.

    always wash behind your ears, because your mother says so and otherwise the little green men can't get through the layer of grime and tell you the meaning of life.

    always wash your dishes after dinner, because your mother says so and the impurity of minute rotting food particles overnight in your house will make your aura foggy.

  20. Nancy says:

    I see a very interesting combination of Victorian attitudes combined with modern germophobic attitudes here, combined with what yogijulian accurately labels as superstition. I think we all need to spend a little more time out in the wilderness, digging holes to shit in and using leaves to wipe, or using stinky wooden outhouses (which are probably coated with a permalayer of bacteria.)

    Feces and urine are unpleasant, but they are a completely natural and necessary part of this earth.

  21. Guest says:

    I'll start leaving the toilet seat down in the bathroom when women stop leaving used tampons in conspicuous places. talk about unsanitary and unsightly…

  22. Thanks for every other great article. Where else may anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such information.

  23. Brad says:

    Putting the lid down is dumb. I've never understood it. Are you worried something is going to jump out? Plus, putting the lid down merely insures that everyone who uses the toilet must touch it with his or her hands. More hands on toilets equals more toilet germs being spread around. If you have female housemates or house guests, it might be courteous to put the SEAT down, but putting the lid down is silly.

  24. Tom says:

    Putting the lid down will reduce the flow of energy out down the toilet. Which is fine if it’s an area where (from a feng shui perspective) it would have been better not to have put the toilet in the first place. However, there are places where it’s beneficial to your wealth to drain the water away. If your toilet is in one of those, you’ll be better off leaving the seat up and flushing it often.

  25. […] is all about relaxing. We need privacy to relax. Having a big space behind one’s head: bad fengshui. Driveway in your view = subtle nervousness. Dead animal: cool looking, but go with cardboard. Wood […]

  26. Christy says:

    My girlfriend ties both flaps up so neither can be put down, she is a strong Thai lady and I appreciate her style. Now when I am back in Oz I do not use the seat flaps at all.

  27. sonya fox says:

    I fell into the toilet one night when my husband left the lids up. I didn't look down because I didn't think I had too!! I was 8 months pregnant at the time….and I was not a happy person! If I can lift the lid and put it down after me….it is only common courtesy that a man should do it also. Another thing….not putting the lid down to flush sprays toilet germs all around the bathroom…..hence the reason for the lid in the first place.

  28. Joe says:

    I am Chinese and the Feng Shui thing is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard

  29. Di says:

    Bigger issue? Flushing with the lid up spreads fecal bacteria around the bathroom and your home… "According to Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of microbiology at University of Arizona in Tucson, flushing the toilet with the lid up is not wise. "Polluted water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl and it can take several hours for these particles to finally settle — not to mention where," he says. "If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet, you are brushing your teeth with what's in your toilet."" (Source: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/germs