Why Put a Red Cup Under the Toilet Seat?

I can understand what brings you here; an article or video with several lifehack photos, one of them being a red cup under the toilet seat. Maybe It aroused curiosity and a strange feeling, right?

While the truth is, the majority don’t actually do it. Some people prop up toilet seats with red cups to signal that there is no toilet paper in the toilet dispenser. This is to grab the attention of users and let them know about the lack of toilet paper. 

Picture showing an example of how to put a red cup under a toilet seat.

However, there are other reasons why people might do this trick in the toilet of their business or residence. In this article, we go into detail about the legitimate reasons why a red cup or empty toilet roll is placed under the toilet seat. 

Reasons to put a red cup under the toilet seat

It all started with an advertisement clickbait

How did you first know about this? As I said, It might be some online advertisement blog that persuaded you to click. Who knows?

Well, It has widely gone viral on social media after a publisher’s website posted an article saying placing an empty toilet paper roll or a red cup under the toilet seat at night is a helpful bathroom trick. 

But eventually, it turned out to be clickbait. Clicking on the ads led to a 41-page slideshow article containing various household tricks, but none of them explained the purpose of placing the items under the toilet seat.

However, after extensive research, we’ve come to the conclusion that it can still be a creative practice to place a red cup under the toilet seat upside down. In fact, many people actually do it quite often, which adds convenience to their daily or work life. Let’s know the other reasons why people might do it.

Lack of Toilet Paper

Many homeowners, restaurants, and hotels place a red cup under the toilet seat to save users embarrassment and frustration. Doing so improves the user experience and protects the reputation of restaurants and hotels.

Sometimes, in their haste to use the restroom, people overlook whether there’s enough restroom tissue. But the presence of the red-colored cup piques their attention and makes them think, why is this put under the seat? 

Then they may realize that the toilet paper roll is empty. This trick is highly efficient in preventing inconvenience of users within various private establishments like hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, and offices.

Reptile Alerts

This might come as a surprise, but it’s a reality for residents in certain parts of Florida and Australia. In these regions, encounters with alligators, green iguanas, and snakes accessing toilets through the sewer are not unheard of. To pre-empt any unwelcome wildlife guests from entering their homes, Homeowners take a precautionary measure by placing a plastic cup underneath the toilet seat.

The idea for this practice is that if any snake or alligator attempts to get out of the toilet, It almost certainly knocks the cup to the ground. Then the sounds of the plastic cup falling to the floor and the toilet seat crashing back loudly warns the house residents about the presence of a reptilian intruder. 

A Reminder for Children to Raise the Seat Before Usage

Parents can’t always guide their young boys to urinate in the proper way. Sometimes, children do it by themselves, and sometimes, you have to remind them again and again. Despite having a sense of self-awareness, they occasionally show a tendency to rush out of excitement. 

As a result, they forget to lift the seat and end up urinating all over it. But an upside-down cup propping up the toilet seat might remind them that they should lift it before urinating. This approach also helps in fostering a sense of responsibility and self-awareness in young children.

Bring Sleepwalker Back to Sense

For households with sleepwalkers, using the red cup trick is a piece of cake to prevent nighttime accidents. We all can relate to sleepwalking as everyone in every household must walk, eat, and do all sorts of things while asleep. 

Although It may sound a bit peculiar, they even pee and poop being entirely unconscious. Some members of families are heavily victims of this disorder. So to prevent them from peeing and pooping on the toilet seat, Some households put a red cup under the toilet seat. 

When sleepwalkers try to sit,  the red cup topples onto the floor, making a loud noise and bringing them back to their normal senses. This inventive approach helps maintain hygiene and minimizes nighttime accidents. 

Why place an empty toilet roll under the toilet seat?

When you see an empty toilet roll under the toilet seat, this means there is no toilet paper available in the toilet paper dispenser. The empty toilet roll is a frequent replacement of any toilet paper hub, which is also put under the seat for the same reason as a red cup or plastic cup in public toilets, hotels, or restaurants. Sometimes, an empty toilet roll becomes more effective in letting the users know that no tissues are left there. 

Should we sit on the toilet propped up by a red cup or an empty toilet roll?

It is not recommended to sit on a toilet propped up by a red cup or an empty toilet roll before knowing the cause of it. As a household guest, ask any house member why the red cup is placed on the toilet seat. 

Similarly, ask the person in charge of restaurants, hotels, and public toilets in similar incidents. If you are too timid to ask, observe everything around you carefully. Check whether enough tissue paper is available or not. If everything looks fine, you are good to use the toilet. 


The red cup under the toilet seat has captured the internet’s curiosity, and while it is mostly a novelty or clickbait, it has practical uses in specific situations. From addressing restroom tissue shortages to alerting homeowners of potential reptile intruders or aiding sleepwalkers, the red cup can serve as an effective tool in various scenarios. 

However, knowing the reason for its placement before using the toilet in unfamiliar situations is essential. As with any viral trend, understanding its context and purpose is key to making informed decisions.

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