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  #1  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:11 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Why did my toilet seat turn blue?

I'll bet that of all the zillions of topics and questions that have been covered on the SDMB, this is a first.

One day a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my toilet seat had turned blue. The blue IRL is a little darker than it appears in the picture.

I do have a blue water/bleach tab thing in the tank. Actually it's half blue and half white and when I flush, the water turns blue and then quickly turns clear again, which is also a mystery--where does the blue go?--but a mystery for another day (unless someone sees a connection).

Anyway, I put this tab in the tank. Shortly after that my every-other-week cleaning lady came, and shortly after that, I noticed that the seat was blue, as in the picture. I thought that maybe she had dipped the brush in the water when it was blue and then ran it over the seat. She's here today and I asked her and she said she hadn't done that.

Also, you'll note that the shape of the blue stain vaguely follows the outline of a person's butt cheeks, what with the scallop shape near the back. However, let me point out that my own personal butt cheeks do NOT spill over and down the sides of the seat, whereas, the stain does. Also, I haven't noticed my butt leaving blue stains anywhere else (like on my sheets or on the floor when I practice naked yoga). (I don't really practice naked yoga.)

The place at the front of the seat where it's not so blue may be because I scrubbed that spot with a Clorox wipie in an attempt to remove the stain and had some success. Not sure about that.

This is an old-time large tank toilet (yay!) that might even be the original in the 1936 house I'm renting. The seat is probably more recent than that.

Any theories?
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:28 AM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Gastrointestinally distressed Smurfs.
  #3  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:31 AM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
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The cookie monster has been crapping in your toilet when you're out
  #4  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:35 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Could you post a selfie of your butt? For research purposes, I assure you.
  #5  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:35 AM
lieu lieu is offline
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Maybe it's a Mood Seat like the Mood Rings some people used to wear.


What kind of mood does it show you're in?
SPOILER:
You're in the mood to take a dump!
  #6  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:53 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
Gastrointestinally distressed Smurfs.
that was my first thought too.
  #7  
Old 12-01-2014, 11:55 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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These replies have been REALLY helpful so far.

  #8  
Old 12-01-2014, 12:24 PM
Canadjun Canadjun is offline
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Haven't the foggiest, so I'll pull something out of my ass again.

Do you wear blue jeans a lot?
  #9  
Old 12-01-2014, 12:24 PM
swampspruce swampspruce is offline
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Side note but those chlorine tabs play havoc with all the rubber bits in your toilet tank, most plumbers don't recommend them as they corrode parts quite quickly.

Is it possible that someones body chemistry is reacting to the toilet cleaner your CL uses?
A quick google search reveals that you are not alone...

Last edited by swampspruce; 12-01-2014 at 12:25 PM. Reason: linky
  #10  
Old 12-01-2014, 12:35 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Originally Posted by swampspruce View Post
Side note but those chlorine tabs play havoc with all the rubber bits in your toilet tank, most plumbers don't recommend them as they corrode parts quite quickly.

Is it possible that someones body chemistry is reacting to the toilet cleaner your CL uses?
A quick google search reveals that you are not alone...
EEK!

I don't know why it didn't occur to me to google it. I'm afraid to read what I find on this page.

I know I'm not pregnant.
  #11  
Old 12-01-2014, 01:13 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Am I blue, am I blue
Ain't these tears in my eyes telling you
Am I blue, you'd be too
If each plan with your man done fell through
  #12  
Old 12-01-2014, 01:50 PM
Helena330 Helena330 is offline
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I've no idea, but I love the retro tile on your floor.
  #13  
Old 12-01-2014, 02:26 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
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Is any member of your household currently playing the role of Mystique in the popular X-Men movie franchise? Apparently, that can lead to blue toilet seats, according to Jennifer Lawrence.
  #14  
Old 12-01-2014, 02:52 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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My theory: Sitting on the toilet seat puts body oils (and sweat, skin flakes, dirt, etc.) on the toilet seat. (Since you don't sit on exactly the same spot every time, you'd expect the dirt to cover a larger area than your body itself.) The toilet seat is not perfectly smooth/nonporous, giving this stuff a place to stick. (Cheaper toilet seats are more guilty of this, but nothing's perfect). Tiny droplets of blue water come out of the toilet when you flush. They react with the oils on the seat, causing a permanent color change that doesn't appear elsewhere.

This is maybe one step better than a WAG, since I have a number of known facts... but I really have no evidence that the connection between them exists.
  #15  
Old 12-01-2014, 03:13 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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C'mon, let's at least generate some hypotheses here!

1) Certain microorganisms (thinking cyanobacterium) seeded either from skin or pants contact that grow well in the microaerobic environment of the toilet seat, perhaps especially if the is some sebum shed there to feed them?

2) Something in the plastic or in cleaner used that reacts with skin/sweat compounds or with bacterial products to produce staining? (Thinking some iodine based reactivity here.)

3) The blue chemical from that flush tab vaporizes and collects prefentially where there has been skin or sweat contact or has been warmer? The Clorox Blue bleach tabs use Acid Blue 9 and likely whatever our op has is similar.

Any ideas to support any of those possibilities?
  #16  
Old 12-01-2014, 03:41 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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You wouldn't buy it a toy at the supermarket?
  #17  
Old 12-01-2014, 03:56 PM
chiroptera chiroptera is offline
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Is your cleaning lady large and blue?

Sorry.
I'd love to read an authoritative answer though! Following swampspruce's link it does appear a common topic on pregnancy and mommy boards, and more common with female commenters so something hormone-related?
  #18  
Old 12-01-2014, 04:08 PM
Manduck Manduck is offline
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Something like that happened to me when there was a power outage, so I lit some candles. I noticed afterwards that there was a bluish coating on the toilet seat (I hadn't had candles in that room, though). It was easily wiped off, though.
  #19  
Old 12-01-2014, 04:11 PM
yoyodyne yoyodyne is offline
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New pair of blue jeans?
  #20  
Old 12-01-2014, 04:27 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoyodyne View Post
New pair of blue jeans?
Or dark colored leg covering of any kind? My new black fleece leggings did this to my toilet seat but only where they touched it.

Last edited by Nawth Chucka; 12-01-2014 at 04:28 PM.
  #21  
Old 12-01-2014, 04:53 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helena330 View Post
I've no idea, but I love the retro tile on your floor.
It's not only "retro," it's the original 1936 tile. You would love the whole house. Here's the kitchen before I moved in. The whole house was restored and lived in by an architect and his family, who now rent it to me. (They outgrew the 1,200 sq ft.). All glass doorknobs. They hunted down the onyx drawer pulls in the kitchen and bathroom. It's a perfect little jewel box of a house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
C'mon, let's at least generate some hypotheses here!
<snip>...3) The blue chemical from that flush tab vaporizes and collects prefentially where there has been skin or sweat contact or has been warmer? The Clorox Blue bleach tabs use Acid Blue 9 and likely whatever our op has is similar.
This makes some sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yoyodyne View Post
New pair of blue jeans?
Actually yes. But I generally pull them down when I'm using the throne.
  #22  
Old 12-01-2014, 05:16 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Another alternative ... the same blue coloring is used in multiple soap and shampoo products. Perhaps it is in some product that is on your skin when you sit there after showering? That would fit the pattern being larger than your butt print would be with overflow of the edges.

Check your shampoos for what coloring agents are there.
  #23  
Old 12-01-2014, 05:17 PM
yoyodyne yoyodyne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
Actually yes. But I generally pull them down when I'm using the throne.
They've already made your ass blue, which then transfers to the seat.
  #24  
Old 12-01-2014, 05:17 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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I wouldn't worry about. It'll only happen once in a Blue Moon.
  #25  
Old 12-01-2014, 05:19 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Originally Posted by yoyodyne View Post
They've already made your ass blue, which then transfers to the seat.
As I said before: EEK!!
  #26  
Old 12-01-2014, 05:19 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Originally Posted by yoyodyne View Post
They've already made your ass blue, which then transfers to the seat.
I suspect she wears underwear.
  #27  
Old 12-01-2014, 05:37 PM
yoyodyne yoyodyne is offline
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
I suspect she wears underwear.
Not in evidence.
  #28  
Old 12-01-2014, 06:00 PM
Count Blucher Count Blucher is offline
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There is another remote possibility, but its Really Rude.

Q: Is there any chance that your cleaning person, in order to save money, has been ingesting dog food?

SPOILER:
IAMS Blue...!

Badda-dee, Badda-dah!
Badda-dee, Badda-dah!
Badda-dee, Badda-dah...!
  #29  
Old 12-01-2014, 09:25 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Okay - an industry source about staining of toilet seats:
Quote:
... Most cleaners used in bathrooms are harsh and abrasive. Stay away from cleaning wipes, toilet bowl cleaners or cleaning products that contain bleach, aerosols, vinegar, essential oils or abrasives. When these agents have been used, staining can occur.
Toilet bowl cleaners can also cause staining. When cleaning your toilet bowl with cleaner, it is important to leave the seat in an upright position to avoid splashing the cleaner onto the seat, and to avoid fumes.
Certain medications can also be a factor in the staining of your seat. When these medications are flushed through a person's system through urine or sweat, it can cause staining.
Once staining has occurred from any of these causes, it cannot be removed ...
I am doubting the medications bit for a blue tinge but can certainly see sweat and various skin care products being oily and/or acidic enough to make a portion of the seat more porous than the rest of it and that being enough for an aerosolized fine mist from a toilet bowl cleaning product being flushed down to gradually cause staining.

Our op can test this (and solve an internet wide mystery) by treating an unstained test patch of the seat with some vinegar for say 30 minutes, wiping it off, and then wiping some of the toilet bowl diluted cleaning product across the seat in both the treated and untreated areas. If a stain similar in color to the blue tush shadow is created to a much greater degree in the treated area we have our answer!
  #30  
Old 12-01-2014, 09:28 PM
psychobunny psychobunny is offline
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Try cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. If the blue comes off on the cloth/paper towel report back and I will give you the answer.
  #31  
Old 12-01-2014, 10:34 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
I'll bet that of all the zillions of topics and questions that have been covered on the SDMB, this is a first.

One day a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my toilet seat had turned blue. The blue IRL is a little darker than it appears in the picture.
As already noted, a google search turns up hits all over the place.

And yes, it's even been done on SDMB too.
  #32  
Old 12-01-2014, 10:39 PM
Morgenstern Morgenstern is offline
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You know, that looks like a buttprint on the seat. Are your cheeks blue too?
  #33  
Old 12-02-2014, 06:45 AM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
As already noted, a google search turns up hits all over the place.

And yes, it's even been done on SDMB too.
And yet apparently never really answered except with WAGs that don't seem to test out ... no not only pregnant women, no not only women, no not sitting with blue jeans, no blue jeans dye on skin does not explain it ...

Maybe I'll buy one of those Corox tabs to test my hypothesis myself.

Again, many toilet cleaning products have that blue dye agent and toilet water aerosolizes some upon flushing, settling on the seat some and some on surrounding areas. Sweat is acidic (down to a pH of 4.5 in some individuals under some circumstances) and acid makes toilet seats susceptible to staining. Cleansers on skin from the shower may also be abrasive enough to make an area of skin contact more stain susceptible.

The key is to test if a stain caused by mild acid or abrasive treatment of a toilet seat does both make that area particularly stain susceptible and if the dye applied in toilet water dilute concentrations results in that color of staining when applied to a seat so treated.

This is Straight Dope people ... let's reduce some ignorance!

Last edited by DSeid; 12-02-2014 at 06:46 AM.
  #34  
Old 12-02-2014, 07:28 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
As already noted, a google search turns up hits all over the place.

And yes, it's even been done on SDMB too.
But(t) not since 2000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
Try cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. If the blue comes off on the cloth/paper towel report back and I will give you the answer.
In the interests of being truly scientifical, I tried several solvents that I found in the bathroom. Report:
Witch hazel- no effect
Hydrogen peroxide - no effect
Rubbing alcohol - color did come off on cotton pad, but only slightly, implying that if I watched a complete series like, say, The Sopranos on my kindle while rubbing the seat with alcohol, it might all come off by the last episode.

What does it mean, Psychobunny?
  #35  
Old 12-02-2014, 09:51 AM
yoyodyne yoyodyne is offline
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Pregnant women tend to buy new clothes, including new jeans.
  #36  
Old 12-02-2014, 10:32 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
I do have a blue water/bleach tab thing in the tank. Actually it's half blue and half white and when I flush, the water turns blue and then quickly turns clear again, which is also a mystery--where does the blue go?--but a mystery for another day (unless someone sees a connection).
Not that it has any connection to the blue seat, but the reason the water runs blue, then white, is that flushing is a two stage process. Before you flush, the tank is full of water that has been turned blue by the clorox tab which is soaking in it. When you pull the handle, a large flapper opens and lets all the water in the tank quickly run into the bowl, flushing down anything in there. This typically takes 2-3 seconds. Then, the flapper valve closes, and the tank begins to refill. But part of the water refilling the tank is redirected to the tank overflow tube to fill the bowl - otherwise the bowl would stay empty, and allow sewer gases back into your house. Since this water never goes through the tank itself and is never in contact with the bleach tab, it's clear.
  #37  
Old 12-02-2014, 11:01 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoyodyne View Post
Pregnant women tend to buy new clothes, including new jeans.
I had my last period in March 1999. (TMI)

Quote:
Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Not that it has any connection to the blue seat, but the reason the water runs blue, then white, is that flushing is a two stage process. Before you flush, the tank is full of water that has been turned blue by the clorox tab which is soaking in it. When you pull the handle, a large flapper opens and lets all the water in the tank quickly run into the bowl, flushing down anything in there. This typically takes 2-3 seconds. Then, the flapper valve closes, and the tank begins to refill. But part of the water refilling the tank is redirected to the tank overflow tube to fill the bowl - otherwise the bowl would stay empty, and allow sewer gases back into your house. Since this water never goes through the tank itself and is never in contact with the bleach tab, it's clear.
I love knowing stuff like this.
  #38  
Old 12-02-2014, 11:06 AM
Ms Boods Ms Boods is offline
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Not our toilet seat (which is oak), but Mr Boods has noticed a heck of a lot of blue stains all over the tub, sink, and bathroom flooring -- mostly because I've taken to dyeing my hair with indigo.

It makes a change from the place looking like an abbatoir after I've dyed with henna, tho.

It does mean the cat has had blue feet for the past week, as he does like to jump into the tub while I'm taking a shower.

(Indigo over henna prevents the clown orange shade that you get with henna even on light brown hair).

Last edited by Ms Boods; 12-02-2014 at 11:07 AM.
  #39  
Old 12-02-2014, 11:20 AM
swampspruce swampspruce is offline
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I'm kind of partial to this theory that was on one of the links from the aforementioned google search:
"After much Googling my theory is that the ionized silver anti-microbial coating on the toilet seats is being turned into silver salts by sweat during pregnancy (Probably by higher acidity caused by sweating out something: excess proteins, vitamin supplements, etc.). These silver salts are then exposed to light as in a gelatin silver print and over an hour or so are resulting in an even deposit of microscopic deposits of silver as a film across the seat. The process being similar to what happens in argyria, a blue-grey pigmentation of the skin caused by absorption of silver into the body. The microscopic deposits of silver will not return to their prior state and are not going to be bleached away. You would have to use acid so they are likely to be there for good. For non silver anti-microbials there is a dye called bromophenol blue which is a absorbed by some of the coatings but I prefer the silver deposit theory as I suspect silver anti-microbials are more common on toilet seats."

ThelmaLou, are you taking any supplements like B vitamins or multivitamins? a lot of the posts seem to refer to this as well as being pregnant.
If this is correct, you are basically cyanotyping your butt!
  #40  
Old 12-02-2014, 11:50 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Originally Posted by swampspruce View Post
ThelmaLou, are you taking any supplements like B vitamins or multivitamins? a lot of the posts seem to refer to this as well as being pregnant.
If this is correct, you are basically cyanotyping your butt!
Not taking any vitamins per se, although I do take some supplements. I'm going for the pregnancy theory in spite of being 15 years post-menopausal and not having carnally known man for a looooong time. When it turns out that I'm pregnant, I'm calling the Smithsonian and claiming my 15 minutes.
  #41  
Old 12-02-2014, 04:32 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Further experimental data: wiped the seat with straight bleach. Did not remove any stain, and very little blue came off on the wipie. Less than came off with alcohol.

Okay, next project: replace toilet seat before my book club meets here after Christmas. I don't want to have this conversation with 10 other women, and the seat looks ridiculous with blue butt-shaped stain.

Anything I should be aware of when buying a toilet seat? IOW is there any way I can screw that up?
  #42  
Old 12-02-2014, 04:48 PM
callander callander is offline
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I would try a MR CLEAN magic eraser first. You may want to consider a slow release lid, no sound rather pleasant, TOTO makes them.

Last edited by callander; 12-02-2014 at 04:48 PM.
  #43  
Old 12-02-2014, 05:23 PM
Octarine Octarine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
Not taking any vitamins per se, although I do take some supplements. I'm going for the pregnancy theory in spite of being 15 years post-menopausal and not having carnally known man for a looooong time. When it turns out that I'm pregnant, I'm calling the Smithsonian and claiming my 15 minutes.
Immaculate conception - get ready for Jesus!

"Foretold it shall be by thy holy blue toilet seat . . ."

Last edited by Octarine; 12-02-2014 at 05:24 PM.
  #44  
Old 12-02-2014, 07:02 PM
psychobunny psychobunny is offline
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Back to give you my theory. There is a blue dye that only dissolves in sweat but not in water, and only in certain people's sweat.. I read about it in a book of medical curiosities once then have seen it or heard of it a few more times since. Usually what happens is that a patient comes in worried about progressively turning bluer/cyanotic. Showering/washing does not remove the dye but it does come off with alcohol. I have tracked it down to new sheets and a new shirt in patients. Usually the offending garment is bright blue but the stain is a bluish-gray. The patient will have washed the item and showered but the dye only comes off with alcohol. Perhaps there is something the OP has bought recently that is bright blue (the offending item is usually bright blue, not jeans) and the OP is only mildly reactive so that the dye is not enough on the skin to notice but does come off when sweat transfers to the seat. It may be that the hormonal changes in pregnancy make their sweat more likely to dissolve this dye. In any case, the key is that the color comes off the skin with alcohol, leaving the wipe bright blue. See if there is anything you have used recently (clothing, towels, sheets) that is bright blue.

Last edited by psychobunny; 12-02-2014 at 07:03 PM.
  #45  
Old 12-02-2014, 10:54 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
Immaculate conception - get ready for Jesus!

"Foretold it shall be by thy holy blue toilet seat . . ."
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: that's not what the Immaculate Conception refers to.
  #46  
Old 12-02-2014, 11:59 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
Further experimental data: wiped the seat with straight bleach. Did not remove any stain, and very little blue came off on the wipie. Less than came off with alcohol.

Okay, next project: replace toilet seat before my book club meets here after Christmas. I don't want to have this conversation with 10 other women, and the seat looks ridiculous with blue butt-shaped stain.

Anything I should be aware of when buying a toilet seat? IOW is there any way I can screw that up?
Buy a blue toilet seat.
  #47  
Old 12-03-2014, 01:59 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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I think I remember this happening to me once, a few years back. It was one of those padded toilet seats. My memory of the incident is a bit hazy, but I think at the time my theory was that it was caused by my cleaning the seat with some sort of household cleanser - probably lemon scented "All Purpose Cleaner". The stuff wasn't blue, but I presumed there had been some sort of chemical reaction with something in the plastic. Anyway, it resulted in quite pleasant shade of pale blue, and the coloration was a bit more even than that shown in the OP's photo, so I didn't worry that much.

Last edited by njtt; 12-03-2014 at 02:01 AM.
  #48  
Old 12-03-2014, 06:09 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
Back to give you my theory. There is a blue dye that only dissolves in sweat but not in water, and only in certain people's sweat.. I read about it in a book of medical curiosities....
I told you I was speshul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: that's not what the Immaculate Conception refers to.
Yes, people, it's the Virgin Birth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
Buy a blue toilet seat.
I thought about that. In fact that makes sense, because maybe this will happen again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
I think I remember this happening to me once, a few years back. ...<snip>... Anyway, it resulted in quite pleasant shade of pale blue, and the coloration was a bit more even than that shown in the OP's photo, so I didn't worry that much.
It's not the color per se; it's the fact that it's so clearly a butt print.
  #49  
Old 12-03-2014, 07:49 AM
BOOM! BOOM! is offline
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It's a blue moon.
  #50  
Old 12-03-2014, 01:55 PM
DSeid DSeid is offline
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njtt's experience is consistent with my proposed hypothesis. Using an acidic or abrasive compound all over the seat will make the whole seat susceptible to staining whereas acidic sweat slowly eroding will make only the area of regular skin contact so prone. Once prone any compound with blue dye in it that gets in contact, such as but not restricted to aerosolized blue in toilet water, will cause the blue staining. This also fits as being more common with pregnant women (heavier and spending more time on the toilet more often).

Of interest blue dye is in lots of things that do not appear blue. Black pen ink, for example, is mostly a very concentrated blue dye with a few other agents added as well.
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