Why one flight attendant warns travelers against brushing their teeth on a plane

There are several ways you can dodge germs on a plane according to one flight attendant. Photo / David, Wikipedia

A flight attendant has warned travelers against a common act on planes, claiming it could make them sick.

You may congratulate yourself for brushing your teeth during a flight but according to one industry employee, it’s a risky move.

According to an anonymous cabin crew member, travelers should not brush their teeth in a plane bathroom, using the water.

“The water on a plane all comes from the same water tank and it is not filtered,” they said.

TO 2019 study from the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center at the City University of New York, which analyzed the water quality on major and regional US airlines, reached a similar conclusion.

While some airlines were better than others, the study recommended to “never drink any water onboard that isn’t in a sealed bottle”.

After describing the bathroom toilet on board as “one of the dirtiest places on the plane”, the flight attendant also recommended keeping your toothbrush and toiletries outside the bathroom.

They also shared other ways to avoid germs while on board and stay healthy.

1. Wear a mask in the bathroom

Air ventilation can be bad enough while in the main cabin of a plane (as one

Air NZ passenger discovered

), let alone in the small confines of the bathroom.

So, while many countries abroad have ditched mask mandates on flights, it may be worthwhile, even just for your visit to the loo.

In such a small space, ventilation can be poor, leaving passengers breathing in the air (and potential germs) of those who have been before them. By masking up, you get another level of protection to keep you safe.

2. Avoid touching surfaces

It can seem obsessive but avoiding direct contact with surfaces in a plane toilet is an effective way to avoid getting sick according to the flight attendant.

Given the purpose of the plane toilet and the quantity of people using it, the risk of surface contamination is arguably higher there than any other part of a plane.

For this reason, the flight attendant recommends using your elbow or disposable gloves when touching handles, as well as antibacterial wipes.

Hovering over the toilet seat to minimise contact is also a great tactic, they added.

3. Keep your shoes on

Taking off your shoes may feel more comfortable, especially during an overnight flight. While this is okay to do in your seat, or walking along the plane’s aisle, the flight attendant said passengers should never walk into the bathroom barefoot or in socks.

Between the small sinks that splash water and the turbulence people can experience while using the toilet, the floor can often be a very unclean place to walk.

4. Pack hand sanitiser

A small bottle of hand sanitiser is a carry-on essential for most flight attendants who want to avoid getting sick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, soap and water is still the best way to clean your hands but sanitiser can further provide protection against germs.

The best times to use hand sanitiser is before and after using the restroom and meal times.

5. Shower after your flight

Stripping off your plane clothes and hopping into a hot shower is something most travelers feel like doing after a long flight.

If you’re the kind of traveler who must shower as soon as they arrive off a flight, you may be better off compared to people who stay in their plane clothes.

After sitting in close proximity to dozens of other people, sharing seat rows, toilets and even air, germs can easily build up on your clothes, hair and hands.

So, after arriving at your destination put some distance between you and the dirty by having a good scrub or at least changing your outfit.