The Worst Things About Public Toilets

By on June 13, 2013

Of all bad things in life, awful public toilets are right up there with the common cold (which of course you can pick up in a dirty washroom). Here are the worst things about public washrooms.

1) Germs

The biggest fear of most people, especially women, are the germs hiding there in plain sight. Though we all hope to find a clean public washroom, sometimes necessity makes compromises.

So what can the average person do to remain healthy?  Healthcare professionals mostly say the same thing—be healthy to begin with. In other words, keep your immune system in good shape.

If you have a cold or allergies do not take chances; be extra careful about your own sanitary protection in public washroom. Do not touch anything with your bare hands.

And anything means anything—handles, hand air dryer buttons, soap dispensers…you get the idea.

Even if you are healthy, there are still germs that can cause serious diseases on all of the surfaces, so it never hurts to be careful about what you touch.

These germs include those that cause hepatitis A, Ecoli, and salmonella. Germs and bacteria flourish in a moist environment—this includes wet sink surfaces and the floor. So don’t put your purse or other belongings down on either of them.

2) Smell

Another terrible thing about poorly maintained washrooms is the smell. Rest assured that the odor is created by germs! So if a facility is particularly odorous, avoid it at all costs.

Go home right away, cross the block to another store, leave the building… you get the idea.

3) Flushing

When you flush a stall toilet, a microscopic spray is pushing into the air; if you breathe it in, you are inviting the now airborne nasties into your lungs.

Try to wait to take a good breath until you are out of the stall, and face away from the fixture.

Many of us come out of a public washroom with a common cold starting to take over our lungs. Another thing, don’t forget to use your foot to push the flush lever, not your hands.

How to Deal with Dirty Washrooms

Hand washing seems to be the easiest thing to forget. Or maybe we don’t just forget; maybe we are too lazy to wash them.  We have all seen the signs in public washrooms telling employees to wash their hands.

They are all adults—why do they need to be reminded?  So when you remember to wash, watch out for dirty soap dispensers, water flow handles, and the sink itself.  Wash thoroughly and then use a paper towel to turn off the water if possible.

If hand sanitizer is available, use it. (Some people carry their own.)

If the washroom is equipped with a commercial hot air hand dryers, use it until your hands are dry; don’t just hold them there long enough for a half-dry attempt.

Moisture is the perfect growth medium for most germs, so the few that you didn’t wash away will grow all the more.

Probably the best thing you can do about a poorly maintained public washroom is to complain to the management loudly.  Whatever the reason for the problem, the public health is everyone’s responsibility.

In the situation when the washroom is shiny and makes you feel confident, it is only fair that you also let the management know as well. Good work is always appreciated, and goes a long way to reminding the facilities manager that his diligence pays off

Chloe is a writer working for Washroom supplies. When she isn’t writing, Chloe can be found pursuing her other true passion- salsa dancing.

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