The can, the lua, the john, the throne. Whatever name you use for the toilets in your home, one thing is clear: It’s good to keep the lid down and the bad energy out

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: My wife constantly tells me that it’s bad feng shui to leave the toilet lid up and bugs me to put the lid down after use. What’s the big deal? Can you give me one good reason why I need to do this?

Yes! First and foremost, you might want to keep your wife happy and show her some respect! All kidding aside, that is a great question, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to share the feng shui aspect of why toilet lids should always be down, not up. Hopefully, after reading this article, the advantages of keeping the toilet lid down will inspire you to shift your viewpoint and make a change so that your wife will stop bugging you about this particular personal habit. It can be a definite win-win, so read on!


The feng shui symbolism of the toilet

Toilets are considered the biggest energy drains in your home, literally the portals that remove waste from your environment. Their raison d’etre is to flush away waste, but they do not distinguish between waste and “good” energy. On an energetic level, when the lid is up, toilets drain away the good energy that you would otherwise like to keep circulating in your home.


Water has drawing power, and an open toilet lid draws the energy in your home down the toilet and that includes wealth energy. Conversely, putting the lid down sets the intent that you want to keep the “wealth, prosperity and other good stuff” in your home. Control what you want to keep or let go of by closing the toilet lid to avoid drawing the good energy down into a vortex of waste. Send the message that “all good energy and wealth stays in my home.”

What does energy have to do with it?

You may wonder what you can possibly lose by keeping the lid open. After all, when the lid is open, only air surrounds it, right? Actually, no. In feng shui, we understand that there is unseen energy in an environment that affects your physical, mental and emotional vitality. For example, if you have a lot of clutter, the energy is considered stagnant, tied up in your things, making you feel lazy and less productive. The “air” may feel thick and heavy. Numerous studies have shown that people feel better in environments that are clutter-free. Closing the toilet lid has the same effect, keeping the “good energy” in the environment for you and your family and friends to enjoy.

I often say, “Where your eyes go your energy goes.” For example, if you come home each day and see the bathroom door open, the toilet lid up, and the toilet’s gaping mouth, it is an instant subconscious drain on your energy.


What the lid is designed for

If we look at it from a functional, nonfeng shui point of view, the purpose of the toilet lid is to close waste off from the environment to keep it sanitary and fresh.

Flushing without putting the lid down

If the energetic aspect of closing the toilet lid doesn’t make sense to you, then let me share some facts that may. Any time a toilet is flushed, a mist filled with bacteria is created. Studies have shown that flushing with the lid open permits the mist to float in the air and easily travel several feet away from the toilet, lingering for a few hours. This means that the mist reaches your toothbrushes, towels, shower curtain, and every hard surface in the vicinity of the toilet. If you are the curious type and have a habit of looking down into the toilet when you flush, that mist also covers your hair, eyelashes and exposed skin, and, of course, you also breathe in that unpleasant air.

Studies on microbiology


Over the course of the last 30 years, in peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona, has written about 400 papers on germs, infections and disinfection. He studied the germ count in the home, discovering that flushing with the toilet lid down prevents bacteria in the water vapor from circulating and landing on your toothbrush and other areas.

Although the levels of bacteria found on the “control” toothbrushes were deemed not enough to be a health hazard, they were clearly speckled with bacteria from the toilet and the thought of brushing your teeth this bacteria, no matter how small the amount, turns most people off.

Prevention is simple. Put the lid down before you flush and always wash your hands afterward. Touching the lid to lower it is one of the main reasons for washing your hands.

Feng shui or science

So, whether your reasoning is feng shui or science, keeping the lid on waste will always keep the good energy in your home and the “bad” energy out. Of course, the No. 1 reason to put the lid down is that a happy wife makes for a happy life!

Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance LLC, a company committed to assisting people in living empowered lives. Alice shares her wisdom as a professional speaker and personal consultant, and offers a series of instructional DVDs on feng shui, as well as her award-winning books on feng shui, happiness and spiritual life wisdom. Visit to read her blog, sign up for her newsletters and download useful feng shui tips.