Tips to use public restrooms

12 Tips To Ensure You Safely Use Public Restrooms

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Traveling is not always rainbows and unicorns. If you aren’t prepared for it, more often than not you will find yourself amidst a moist, unswept floor littered with used tissues and loo paper in aisles littering your path. It’s an unseemly sight and using public restrooms is one of those unavoidable things we run into at some point during our travels.

Travel becomes easier when you know how to tackle your need to pee, poop, change your kid’s diaper, or handle any kind of bathroom emergency. Bathrooms can be a tricky place and an emergency stop for many people. Holding in your nature’s call is bad for your health, and public restrooms are not avoidable when you aspire to be an avid traveler. 

Public restrooms in decent places usually have private cubicles, sinks for hand washing, an electric hand dryer, or tissue paper. But you cannot expect the same facilities at all public restrooms.

We have 12 tips that we have curated from our own experiences, to ensure you are better prepared to handle unfortunate bathroom situations and safely use public restrooms.

Tips To Use Public Restrooms

Using public restrooms in a safe manner
  1. Use paid restrooms over the free ones. Since you are paying to use them, the personnel ensure that they are cleaned frequently at least once a day. Keep a few coins or spare change with you to pay for them should the need arise.
  2. Use the restrooms at a cafe, restaurant, mall, or gas station. The restrooms here are usually well-maintained and frequently cleaned. We always use this hack while traveling. Sometimes, it is insisted that you purchase at least one item to use their facilities, we purchase at least a candy, snack, or drink from these places before we use their facilities as it is courteous. 
  3. Never ever open a closed restroom. It might be dirty, unclean, or worse the occupant forgot to bolt it.
  4. Let’s say you notice five restrooms that are opened continuously, choose the ones that are towards the end. They are always less used when compared to the ones in front as they are less accessible. 
  5. Choose Indian-type toilets (squatting) as it doesn’t involve any physical contact with the loo, ensuring less chance of getting infected. Additionally, it eases the pressure on various parts of the body leading to faster and healthier potty times.
  6. Remove jewelry especially while using restrooms on a moving train. You probably do not want to lose your valuables or mobile in the most undesirable manner.
  7. Choose a clean and well-maintained bathroom, if possible. Look for signs of cleanliness such as tolerable smell and clean floors and surfaces.
  8. Use sanitary tissues or disinfectant spray like ‘Peesafe’ to sanitize the toilet seats. You can also wipe the toilet seat with a tissue to get rid of the wetness and then use it. But do not put toilet paper on your toilet seats and sit on them. Placing the paper on top of the toilet seat won’t save you from germs. Rather, it absorbs moisture and makes it an excellent place for microbes to reproduce. While most places in the world allow you to flush used toilet paper into the loo, few countries like Egypt, Greece, and Turkey have special bins for used toilet paper. This practice is also increasingly being implemented in more and more places. So first ensure that there are bins and safely dispose of them there instead of always opting to flush them.
  9. Flush the toilet before and after use. Avoid touching surfaces such as doorknobs and faucets with bare hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap after you use the facilities. Use paper towels or a hand dryer to dry your hands.
  10. Bring your own tissue paper. In certain countries like Taiwan, you will not need to pay for using the loo but you will pay for the paper. For women, we recommend you carry sanitary pads, tampons, or mensural cups with you at all times. Check the list of toiletries (#3 is a game changer) that you should carry while traveling. You will find hand showers for the loo in a few Asian countries like India.
  11. If the place is very busy with long lines, be prepared to deal with the odor and the subsequent cause of the odor. It is better to avoid such places as there is a higher risk of exposure to germs. In these cases, it is better to be dependent on nature. Dig the ground, finish the job, and collect the used toilet paper in an air-tight bag and dispose of it later in an appropriate manner. Do not leave the papers right there flying around.
  12. It is good practice to complete your morning routine before stepping out of the house or hotel so you don’t have to worry about it during the day or during your travel.

Did you know? Urophobia or Paruresis is the fear of public toilets.

Although there are plenty of germs on the toilet seat, your skin is an incredibly effective barrier and keeps those germs from entering your body. But it is careless to take certain risks and it is always better to be safe to protect yourself from general infections which are prevalent when you use public restrooms in an unhygienic manner. 

If you are hesitant about using a public restroom, we hope this guide helped you on how best to tackle your well-founded anxiety. If you have more insightful tips, add them in the comments below.

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