Why Put a Red Cup Under Toilet Seat?

Many videos and blogs have been popping up about the life hack of using a red cup under the toilet seat. Some also claim that you could use a toilet paper roll to the same effect.

We’re here to explain what it means and whether you should do it in your house.

Why Use a Red Cup?

Online media used the red cup story to attract clicks and comments. It usually comes as a question asking the readers to guess the point of using a red cup in the toilet.

The color makes for a solid visual, but there’s no reason to use a red cup when you can use an empty toilet roll instead.

In most of these articles, there’s no real explanation for why you should use a red cup this way and what good it can do. Most of them state that an empty toilet paper roll can be used instead.

Why Put a Red Cup Under Toilet Seat?

As a Sign That You’re Out of Toilet Paper

In most cases, the plastic cup is used as a sign you’re out of toilet paper. There are, however, a few practical reasons to place a red cup under the toilet seat in your bathroom.

In large households where a lot of people are using a bathroom, this can come in handy so that you’re aware that you need more toilet paper.

The user would need to remove the cup to use the toilet seat, which will serve as a reminder that this choir needs to be done first. It works well since red paper cups aren’t usually found in bathrooms that often and especially not under the toilet seat.

For Hygiene Purposes

The paper cup is used to prop up the toilet seat so that you don’t need to touch it directly. This is more of a use for public toilets than the ones you have at home since a public restroom isn’t a place known for its hygiene.

Raising and lowering the toilet seat in a public bathroom can sometimes be nasty.

However, there is some that claim that this practice may have some unwanted consequences as well. If you flush the toilet while the cup is lodged under the seat, it too can get wet and dirty. 

Germs will also find their way to both the seat and the cup under the toilet seat, regardless of how careful you are and how much you try to avoid touching the toilet seat.

Do You Place a  Red Cup Under Your Toilet Seat at Night?

Warning of Pests or Other Animals

Pests and other small animals are often attracted to bathrooms since it’s a place to hide and there’s water in them. In some parts of the country, even alligators are known to crawl out of the sewage system.

A simple red plastic cup props up the toilet seat and can serve as a warning system.

The animal will knock the cup off, and the toilet seat will slam the toilet alarming the residents that something is happening in the bathroom.

It can be somewhat startling in the middle of the night, but it’s much less scary than coming to the bathroom and seeing the animal in the toilet bowl.

It’s probably one of the most valid reasons why people place cups under their toilet seats in states such as Florida, where alligators are known to shop up more often than in other parts of the country.

Measuring How Much Urine You Excrete 

There are medical conditions out there that will require you to measure urine excretion. It’s primarily an issue with patients who experience heart conditions and diabetes.

Increased excretion can point to changing symptoms; therefore, it’s essential to be aware of it and let your doctor know.

Many patients also overlook taking note of this symptom, especially if they go to the bathroom late at night. Having a red cup under the toilet seat can serve as a reminder that you need to be alert and measure.

It also helps to have a notepad close by the toilet so that you can make notes when needed and do it as soon as possible. This can prove to be a valuable tool for your doctor later on.


Sleepwalking is a strange but not that uncommon tendency. It’s often associated with aging and losing cognitive function, but it can happen to young and healthy people as well.

Sleepwalkers often go to the bathroom while still fast asleep, and it can lead to unpleasant accidents.

A red cup under a toilet seat can be a warning sign. If it’s moved, it will slam the toilet seat and wake the sleepwalker. The fact that the cup was moved can also signify to other residents that a family member was sleepwalking.

Training Your Kids to Use the Toilet

Training your toddler to move from using a potty to using a toilet can be challenging. Young boys are often difficult when it comes to lifting the toilet seat. A red cup can be a good reminder for them to do it because it’s easy enough to notice.

The key is to teach the kid to associate the cup with lifting the toilet seat, which can take a while. However, it’s an important life skill, and you need to be persistent until the child is ready to adapt.


The trend of articles and videos about the red cup under the toilet has been around for a while. But it’s still unclear whether homeowners use this “amazing life hack” in their residences. There are some legitimate uses for the practice, but you can also achieve them in other ways.

There’s nothing wrong with trying it for a while, and if it serves some of the purposes we mentioned – it’s a simple and inexpensive way to make your bathroom safer or to enforce certain practices in your household.

If you don’t have a plastic cup at hand, you can always use an empty roll of toilet paper with the same effect.



Smith Edwards

Smith Edwards is a licensed plumber and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years.

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