Toilet seat covers are disposable sanitary items commonly found in public restrooms. They are intended to protect the users of the toilet from germs left by other users. Whether they are effective in this area often depends on the material used to make the cover. There are also padded and heated toilet seat covers, which are not disposable and are usually used in homes given the personal nature of the device. People sometimes refer to the closed part of the toilet seat as a cover, but this is more commonly called a lid.
The disposable toilet seat cover is an item designed for the prevention of diseases, but it is primarily an item of superstition. Many people believe it is possible to catch a sexually transmitted disease from a toilet seat, but since none of those diseases are transmitted through skin, it is very unlikely that a disease related to bodily fluids can be caught in this way. Even diseases like genital warts or herpes are not transmitted by using public toilet seats because they require extended contact between the skin of two people.
Additionally, any germs that may be prevented by a disposable toilet seat cover will not be prevented if the cover is made of paper and gets wet. There are plastic covers that change automatically between users and may be fully effective at preventing transmission of diseases, but a paper toilet seat cover provides none of these benefits. A person may use a toilet seat cover simply for peace of mind even if he or she rationally understands that the cover is not effective in most cases.
Disposable toilet seat covers are often held in dispensers against the wall near the toilet. Sometimes a special button may be on the toilet that automatically advances a new cover. While it is fairly normal to find toilet seat covers in some countries, others do not have covers at all. Some people believe so firmly in the necessity of these items that they bring their own toilet seat covers with them in case of bathroom emergencies.
Padded toilet seat covers are either attached to the toilet seat or replace the seat itself. They often come with a matching toilet lid. Many padded toilet seat covers are decorative and display images or designs. In some cases, the toilet seat cover may include an electrical element that heats the seat for the user's comfort. It is important that any additional functions of the toilet seat cover do not interfere with its primary use as a toilet seat.