Although it’s always unpleasant when it happens, items slipping and falling into the toilet happens to the best of us. Obviously, there are some things that you just can’t flush, and moreover, there are some things that you probably don’t want to throw out either. Sure, modern smartphones may be waterproof, but those toilet bowls still aren’t the cleanest.
So, when something falls into the toilet, after you scoop it out, you do want to disinfect it. Now, the reality is that maybe not everything can be disinfected, but most things can. Let’s talk about the various items that might take the plunge into your toilet and how to make sure you can use them safely afterward.
Things You Can and Can’t Disinfect After They Fall in a Toilet
When that potentially germ-filled toilet water gets all over your goods, you want to clean it all off and sanitize it right away. However, with that being said, are there things that you just cannot sanitize? Yes, so according to logic and common sense, anything hard and solid should be viable candidates for disinfection.
If an object is solid and hard, then water and germs won’t be able to penetrate and soak in. However, when it comes to fabrics and soft materials, these are a bit harder to disinfect, yet also not impossible. If something hard like a phone, your keys, or a toy falls into the toilet, there are plenty of substances and items you can use for disinfection, but when it comes to fabrics, it gets a little harder.
When it comes down to it, if it is hard and somewhat water-resistant, you can wipe it down with a number of things, and if it is a fabric that can be washed or boiled, then it can also be disinfected.
The only things that you really cannot disinfect are soft items that will soak up water and germs, and can then also not be properly boiled or sanitized. In general, the list of things that you cannot sanitize in one way or another is extremely short (like books or magazines).
Let’s move onto the next section and go into some more detail.
9 Best Ways to Disinfect Items That Fell in a Toilet
Now that we have established that most things that fall in the toilet can indeed be disinfected, let’s talk about all of the different ways in which this is possible.
If it is a hard and solid object, something like your car keys, then the easiest thing to do is to boil it. Boiling hot water will kill virtually all types of bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew, and anything in between. Simply get some water up to a rolling boil, dump the keys into it and let them boil for a few minutes. Make sure to use some tongs or tweezers when removing the keys from the boiling water.
Of course, things like soft plastics and electronics should not be boiled. Moreover, if you are not too concerned about clothes and fabrics shrinking, you could always boil them too.
Did you know that as long as steam reaches at least 250 degrees Fahrenheit, it can also be used to disinfect a variety of materials? Of course, steaming something is not quite as good as boiling it, but with that said, steam can still kill various types of bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli (with E. coli being one of the biggest threats when it comes to toilet water).
As long as the item you want to disinfect is waterproof and heat resistant, you can use this method. Things like keys, children’s toys, and various miscellaneous items can all be steamed for disinfection (this is how baby bottle sanitizers work, by using hot steam to kill germs in baby bottles).
3. Laundry Machine
If some clothing fell in the toilet and you want to disinfect it, all you really have to do is wash it in the washing machine using the sanitize function. Now, not all washing machines have this sanitize function, but high-end ones definitely do.
In case you don’t know what this is, it is more or less just when the water in your washing machine literally boils, and yes, this is a great way to both disinfect clothing and get rid of stains at the same time too. Now, there is obviously a host of items that cannot be laundered, so don’t go throwing your phone in there!
4. Simple Sanitizer Wipes
One of the simplest ways to disinfect things that fell in the toilet is to use some good old sanitizer wipes. All you have to do is take the, out of the package and wipe down whatever fell in the toilet. This works on keys, toys, phones, and everything in between.
The only things that you really can’t disinfect with sanitizer wipes are fabrics and porous materials where the wipes cannot penetrate.
5. Rubbing Alcohol
Although you probably don’t want to soak nice clothes in isopropyl alcohol due to staining, it is technically a possibility. That said, if you have keys, phones, toys, or anything else of the sort, all you have to do is to soak a rag in some isopropyl alcohol and then give the item a quick rub down.
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that also works as a fantastic disinfectant. For hard and solid objects that are not electronic, such as keys and other such things, mix a little bit of Borax with some water and then give the item a quick rub down with a cloth.
7. Essential Oils
Essential oils can do a whole lot more than making your house smell good because ones such as tea tree, peppermint, and lavender essential oils have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. All you have to do is to mix a few drops with a bit of water or even some vinegar for a bit of added cleaning power, and then spray whatever item fell in the toilet, followed by a quick wipe down to dry it off.
Essential oils can smell really strong and be quite greasy, so you probably don’t want to use them for electronics or clothing.
8. Hydrogen Peroxide
One of the best natural disinfectants out there is the lemon.
Now, lemon is not really strong enough to be a true disinfectant, but it can still clean hard surfaces and kill some bacteria. If all you have on your hand is a lemon and you need to use that phone right away, then it is better than nothing.
Can You Use Vinegar to Disinfect Something That Fell in a Toilet?
Yes, vinegar is a great cleaner, and indeed it works as a good disinfectant, one that can kill various foodborne pathogens, such as E. Coli as well as other types of bacteria and even mildew and mold as well. All you have to do is get a cloth, soak it in some vinegar, and then wipe the surface down.
Now, this is obviously a method that you can’t use for soft fabrics and clothing because if you soak them in vinegar, they may get damaged, stained, and very smelly too, but it does work just fine for hard objects.
There you have it, folks, everything you need to know about disinfecting a variety of items that fell in the toilet. Now, stop playing with your phone while standing over the toilet!