Do Toilets Actually Flush Backwards in Australia?

Arguably a single of the funniest and most insightful moments of The Simpsons animated collection was Bart Simpson making an attempt to show to his sister Lisa that drinking water flows in reverse directions in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Bart attributed this phenomenon to the Coriolis Impact, a force that triggers winds to circulation in one particular path. The winds could possibly circulation north of the equator or south of it.

Likewise, this effect is also briefly pointed out in a scene played out in the motion picture Escape Prepare (2013), played by Sylvester Stallone. In this movie, the major character Breslin attempts to establish the location of a prison ship in which he is trapped by investigating the path of drinking water as it pours down a drain. While detailing to his dumbfounded fellow inmates, he mentions, “Water flows clockwise above the equator.”

So, this begs the question. Is it attainable to use a flushing toilet to decide regardless of whether you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere? Does the water in Australia flush backward? It is about time we set this query to bed once and for all.

Opposite to well-liked misunderstanding, the solution is no! Toilets in Australia do not flush backward. This misconception has circulated over the many years, partly because of the Coriolis Effect. The only true cause of “backward” flushing is introduced on by the shape of the rest room basin and the direction of the drinking water jets. Study on to know much more about the drain direction myth and what actually influences the route that drinking water drains in Australian bathrooms and sinks.

Origin of the Drain-Direction Myth

elongated toilet seat
Image Credit: Sidorov_Ruslan, shutterstock

To better realize how the drain-direction myth originated, we will discuss a documentary titled Pole to Pole by Michael Palin. This documentary will also aid you understand why the myth has received traction in modern society in excess of the very last century.

In his documentary video, Palin visits Kenya in which he observes a tourist entice the place a gentleman supposedly demonstrates how water drains in different ways on the equator. Even though the video’s authenticity might be in question, Palin doesn’t outright mention that the online video is phony. He also fails to point out that the act was executed in a bid to impress tourists visiting the equatorial region for the 1st time. Even hunting at the overall performance, a few meteorology professionals may possibly have recognized it was a faux but could not spot how the trick was executed.

However, the desirable demonstration of science that Earth’s rotation would cause these kinds of adjust in draining h2o seems as respectable as it can be. This is exactly where most men and women picked up the notion that toilets in Australia drain in different ways than those on the equator or the North Pole. The idea has caught for numerous several years now.

The Coriolis Effect

The Coriolis Impact was 1st noticed in 1835. Given that then, a lot of great thinkers have been striving to figure out if the phenomenon impacts distinct sides of existence and, a lot more specifically, toilets in the Southern Hemisphere.

It is typically identified that the Earth rotates from east to west. Owing to the Coriolis Influence, large storm methods, such as hurricanes, move counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to a Meteorology professor, the Coriolis force makes the air rotate around a low-stress center in a cyclonic route. The expression “cyclonic” implies that the fluid, whether water or air, rotates in the identical course as the world. In addition, it means that the fluids rotate due to the fact the earth is rotating as effectively.

  • The air flowing next to a hurricane will spin counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere but clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • If, for instance, the Earth did not rotate, the air would directly flow towards the low-pressure area. But on a rotating Earth, the Coriolis force will cause the air to travel around the low-pressure area.

Consequently, in idea, draining h2o in a bathroom or a bathtub—any vessel really—should have a related impact. As you may have collected, the Coriolis Effect functions on a more substantial scale. Nonetheless, on a more compact scale, like in drains and bogs, the planet’s rotation is weaker than other extraneous forces.

What Actually Influences the Direction That Water Drains in Australia?

plumber repairing toilet flush
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

So, the Coriolis Impact has a significantly more substantial impact on a larger scale, but rest room water is modest scale. So, what accounts for the varying methods that toilets flush and drain?

The only genuine lead to of backward-flushing bathrooms is the layout of the tools that does the flushing and draining. Lavatory debris and create-up also have an effect on the form water will take as it drains through the pipes. The form of the bathroom basin also impacts the direction of drinking water jets in your toilet bowl flush. Even in an upscale toilet that has a flawlessly symmetrical drain, the circulation will be affected by any residual currents in the rest room left in excess of from when it was previous stuffed.

Some basin types allow drinking water to stream in one particular direction while others favor the opposite course. You can even manipulate the path of water employing your fingers. Even though, that is most likely quite unhygienic.

But the base line is, even however Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, it will not have any effect on the flush path of their bogs. If all the exterior influences are reduced to a certain degree, a bathroom will drain in diverse directions.


A lot of folks believe that bogs flush backward in Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia. However, this is a frequent misunderstanding that arose partly because of to the Coriolis Influence discovered in 1835. The Coriolis force can impact hurricanes, winds, and climate styles. It leads to ocean floor currents to movement in reverse instructions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. This is perhaps what began the typical concept of back-flushing bogs in the first area.

Nevertheless, the Coriolis Influence can't affect actions these kinds of as the route drinking water flushes in a sink or a rest room. This is because other kinds of vitality in the atmosphere such as particles overpower the weak Coriolis power. Therefore, in a bathroom, the drinking water jet angles and the shape of the bowl will management the path of the flush and not the earth’s rotation.


Highlighted Graphic Credit history: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels