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Berserker's avatar

This is a serious question, even if it sounds stupid; if you were dying of thirst, would you drink water from the toilet?

Asked by Berserker (33514points) December 4th, 2011

Hypothetical. I’m not planning on drinking toilet water.
For some reason, I’ve had this question in my head all weekend, no idea why. So I’m really wondering.
How safe would it be to drink water from a toilet bowl? Let’s say a regular toilet, that has seen years of use. I mean I’m thinking that bacteria must be rampant in there, and you’d probably get sick. But if someone regularly keeps the toilet clean (cleaning it with products once a week, say) and is a constant flusher, would the water be drinkable? Say you were dying of thirst, and the only source of water available is from a toilet. Would you drink it? Or would that just make someone worse? I’m thinking I would opt for the water in the tank instead of the bowl. How safe would it be to drink water from a toilet, from either the bowl or tank? I mean dogs do it, sometimes cats too. They don’t seem to get sick. Could a person get away with this if they had to?
I know it sounds like a silly trollish question, but I’m really wondering here. And not because I need/want to do it.

Of course, jokes are inevitable welcome, too. So what are the facts behind this, regarding health?

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38 Answers

babybadger's avatar

Of course haha

jrpowell's avatar

Cats and dogs do it. Never had one of them die from it. I would rather drink that water than my own piss.

zensky's avatar

Very serious question. The Nobel committee just called.

My vote also goes to drinking it, if it must be so, rather than Jp’s piss.

wilma's avatar

As opposed to dying? Sure.

TexasDude's avatar

I’d drink from the tank first.

wilma's avatar

Yes, the tank first, then the bowl if necessary.

Berserker's avatar

@wilma Ultimately, if the tank water is safer, you could just flush it again if you happen to run out.
Max Brooks mentions that tank water is safe, and although I love zombies, he isn’t someone I’d actually go for in order to get such facts, at least, not based on his books. However, I’m under the impression that I should have known that toilet water is safe. I’m sorry, Max Brooks. :D

bea2345's avatar

The question answers itself. If your life depends on something, you will do almost anything.

Berserker's avatar

@bea2345 I saw this documentary once, about people who have races in the desert. Like, day long races, that concentrate on perseverance and survival, not a speed race. (although it’s still the first one who gets to the finish point) Apparently, the racers save their urine in a bottle, and drink it later on when needed. I shoulda thought of that lol.

fundevogel's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard “I’d drink from the tank first.”

I was thinking that, but then I remembered while I clean my bowl semi-regularly I know for a fact there is some sort of mold or mildew in my tank. Eww.

john65pennington's avatar

If the water was actually running, I would bypass the toilet and drink water at the cutoff valve, underneath the toilet. Clean water is there.

Berserker's avatar

@john65pennington Yeah, we’ll assume the toilet is running. I totally never thought of that. Actually I didn’t even know that was there lol.

Countrybumkin's avatar

Ooo touche’. Very good john65pennington!

cockswain's avatar

Already do.

YARNLADY's avatar

Of course. In fact, I would re-cycle my own urine if necessary.

Zaku's avatar

Yes, actually dying of thirst is far worse and more life-threatening than drinking toilet water. @john65pennington has a great suggestion for how best to do it.


Oh yes. Self-preservation is one of nature’s most important laws. Lol.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Symbeline Yes, there’s a little drinking fountain inside your toilet! Pretty handy, eh? :-) You take the top off the tank and you’ll see it, then just flush and fresh water comes out a little metal tube and refills the tank.

TexasDude's avatar

@fundevogel I’d take mildew over festering butthole and peepee residue.

Moegitto's avatar

Toilet water would actually have more cleaner product that poopoo (Hopefully, the person most likely has good house cleaning manners). I know I used undiluted simple green to clean my toilet bowl. My water would probably taste like tap water with a strong hint of lime, lol.

Sunny2's avatar

Miners have been known to survive cave ins by drinking their own urine. If you have a toilet to drink from, you’re not in dire straits. To save your life, you may have to accept less than pristine fluids meet your fluid intake needs. Better to have an infection than to die of thirst. How many days can one go without fluids? I should know the answer, but I don’t.

ucme's avatar

I’d flush & take great big gulps of the stuff, hoping I don’t drown in the process.
Now that would be hilarious…..ironic.

lillycoyote's avatar

Also, I think other people’s poo germs are really more of a danger to you than yours and the people you encounter on a regular basis, the people who live with you and also use the toilet. You’re almost certain to be immune or if they had anything really dangerous, you would have most likely already been made sick by them. I live by myself so I am really very unlikely to be exposed to any germs in my toilet that didn’t come out of me to begin with, I think. And if drinking out of the toilet is good enough for my dog, it’s good enough for me, in a pinch.

Moegitto's avatar

It isn’t too toxic in Fallout 3. After a nuclear strike all the toilets in the DC area is only “slightly” toxic compared to can food. :|

ratboy's avatar

My toilet has a built in drinking fountain (I believe that bidet is the French name for water fountains).

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

When one is truly dying of thirst they will drink about anything. I would go for the tank first myself if I could. My very first thought would be if I could dismantle the pipe to get it right from the source.

Paradox25's avatar

The water supply to the toilet tank is the same as for your sink. Personally I would obviously go for the tank water first. However, suffering from actual severe hunger/thirst is much different from thinking about what you would do in the scenerio. Biological urges and the physical body’s urge to survive are extremely powerful and can easily override our normal train of thought in extreme circumstances (speaking from personal experiences).

Berserker's avatar

@Paradox25 Yeah, I heard that while dying of dehydration, someone might kill their parents for a small glass of water. I’m not being funny here, this was the equivalent that was explained to me. You also become quite delirious and messed up in advanced stages, too, but even if you didn’t, yeah.

@Sunny2 Death by dehydration is only a few days, but it can depend on a lot of things. You’ll obviously go faster in a desert than you would in some humid jungle. (I think) There’s also different kinds of dehydration cases, some which include water, and others which include things you find in certain foods. But generally, I’d say a few days, you’re fucked lol.

fundevogel's avatar

@Paradox25 “However, suffering from actual severe hunger/thirst is much different from thinking about what you would do in the scenerio. Biological urges and the physical body’s urge to survive are extremely powerful and can easily override our normal train of thought in extreme circumstances (speaking from personal experiences).”

That’s why we need to sort out our Emergency Toilet Protocol now, so when we are faced with such an emergency we will already have a clear idea of what to do. It’s like knowing you’re fire escape route or taking CPR. We should be doing drills now, for our safety.

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