Australian Toilets Do Not Flush in the Opposite Direction

March 19, 2010 at 12:57 am 7 comments

Despite what you may believe, being in the secret business is not glamorous. Nothing in school prepares you for this many late afternoons, drinking whipped cream topped drinks at Starbucks.

Actually, college did prepare me for that, but it’s still not glamorous. Take my word for it. Just the other day I was sitting by the pool thinking, “what am I going to write about for tomorrow?” I couldn’t come up with anything at all.

For inspiration, I moved to the hot tub — maybe some bubbles would help. You wouldn’t believe it, I still couldn’t come up with an idea! It usually comes naturally and the hardest part of my day is answering repetitive questions like, “what is it like to be such a handsome and successful blogger?”

I’m kidding of course, except about the lack of glamor, not that you really expected it to be glamorous anyway. The truth is, I don’t sit by any pool or hot tub and I rarely drink whipped cream topped drinks at Starbucks. I work a normal day job and write this blog at night.

It’s probably a lot more work than you may realize; even before I start writing I spend a lot of time digging for ideas and accurate sources to come up with something I think you’ll find interesting, and sometimes really helpful. The most common real question I get is, “where do you get all of your ideas?” There are two main sources.

First of all, I’m really curious about everything, so I like to read about interesting subjects and usually discover secrets along the way.

My friends, family and fans are the other main sources. Some people submit secrets here and other people let me harass them directly.

While I joke about it not being glamorous, it’s a lot of fun and very rewarding. Today is the blog’s four month milestone and I’m really grateful for all the people who have shared ideas with me and shared this blog with other people… there are too many to name, but you know who you are and you make my work easier.

Today’s secret is no different.

I was emailing with my friend Paul today. He gave me a bucket of secrets and he’s Australian, which lead to this one: the hemisphere does not affect the direction that water drains from a sink, tub, toilet…etc. I always thought it did, but I realized my source was The Simpsons, which is not exactly Scientific American. That said, Lisa’s tiger-repellent rock was pure genius.

Anyway, back to the crapper. It turns out that magnetic, Coriolis or other forces have virtually no impact on the direction you see the water drain from sinks or toilets. Water can drain either direction in both hemispheres.

Many TV shows and chain emails claim that the rotation of the earth (Coriolis force) affects the direction of the draining water, but that is not true. Coriolis forces do affect oceans and very large weather systems, but that is due to their size and gravity, it doesn’t majorly affect a small amount of water in a toilet. The factors that do have a major affect on the toilet water are: the way the water enters the container and the properties of the container itself (shape, tilt, indents…etc).

This just saved you money on prank calls to Australia. Thanks Paul.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Paul, Snopes

Entry filed under: Around The House, Demystified, Despite Popular Belief. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul  |  March 19, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Ha ha – nice one Chad. In defence of the Simpsons, I have learned much about American life watching that show – it is often spot on. As for the Australian episode, I thought it was very funny, but my favourite part was when they flushed the toilet in the US embassy, the reverse flow machine kicked in, and Homer began to tear up and sng the American national anthem…,3e950fc947d9e61703e9/Simpsons-Season-06-16-Bart-vs-Australia.html

    • 2. chriscp  |  September 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      What on earth have you learned about American life from watching a cartoon that should have been cancelled 15 years ago??? That nuclear power plants are owned and run by rich maniacs and staffed by morons? That kids skateboard to school and back home? The school buses are driven by headphone-wearing potheads? That parents discipline their unruly kids by choking them? That everyone is left-handed? That every Halloween aliens try to invade? I stopped watching the Simpsons in the early/mid-90s because it stopped being funny and it was no longer topical or relevant. It was certainly never much of a representation of American life.

  • 3. Steph  |  March 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

    My whole life I a lie. My science teachers thought I was insane when I tried to tell them that the school toilets and the toilets in the restaurant down the street flushed in different directions. I knew I was right! Love it. =D

  • 4. Brett  |  March 19, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    So that device the American Embassy used on that toilet in that Simpsons episode was clearly money peed away…literally and figuratively!!

  • 5. Charyl  |  March 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Congrats on the big anniversary. I enjoy reading your secrets.

  • 6. Drunk Aussies forgetting millions on casino tables  |  April 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    […] millions on casino tables Peter AmselWednesday, April 21, 2010We all understand that the whole ‘toilets swirl backward in Australia’ thing is a myth, but do Aussie gamblers have a backward comprehension of the way gambling’s […]

  • 7. Lizzy  |  April 24, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I got my information on the subject from The Simpsons too…


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