When on the move, public restrooms are a huge necessity. Whether you’re out grocery shopping or visiting a mall, or road tripping, you’re going to have to visit one of these at some point or the other.
We all know, however, that public toilets are health hazards just waiting to happen. Men often cringe at the idea of visiting the public urinal, while many women refuse to step into one unless they need to wash their hands.
Fortunately, there is a way you can limit your exposure to the massive party of germs and bacteria in the public restrooms. Here’s how you can choose the cleanest stall at places like these.
Skip The Middle Stalls, Says Research
A 1995 paper published in the journal Psychological Science, detailed out a variety of short experiments that focused solely on the centrality preference. On examining the bathroom habits of people in a public bathroom in California, sixty percent of finished rolls of toilet paper came from middle stalls. This meant that only 40 percent of finished rolls of toilet paper came from the ends.1 Psychiatrists call this the “centrality preference”.
Thus, research declares that the middle stalls are usually the ones you need to avoid. This is because, when given a choice of either an equal number of equally clean or equally dirty toilet stalls, people tend to pick the ones the middle.
Personal Hygiene Tip: Which Stall To Choose
It now becomes obvious that the stalls you need to choose when in a public restroom are the ones either right in the beginning or right at the end, as they have a higher likelihood of being cleaner than the ones in the middle.
However, if you want to really get into the specifics, it is possible to narrow down your stall choosing even further. Further research states that women tend to choose the stalls that are located the farthest away from the bathroom door. So if you’re at a ladies-only public restroom, your most hygienic option is the very first stall in the bathroom.
For men, the stalls located the furthest from the door are your best bet since most men tend to choose the very first urinal in the bathroom, making it, along with the ones in the middle, the most unhygienic option.
The Cleanliness Guide To Using Public Restrooms
Plus, if you’re the regular germ-phobe, you’re still going to worry about hygiene, irrespective of what number urinal you’re using, and with reason. This is because research or no research, there is still a fair chance that you may contract something from the first few or the last couple of stalls.
Follow this seven-step guide to ensure that you stay germ-free as much as possible when using a public restroom.
- Step 1: Never enter a toilet that has no tissue rolls.
- Step 2: Use wet wipes over the toilet seat, or better yet, a disinfectant spray, if you have one. If you have neither, just use the tissue roll. You could even go one step further, and remove the first two layers of the toilet roll, as they are naturally going to be exposed to bacteria by the person who used it before you.
- Step 3: Use toilet paper to flush instead of using your naked fingers. Or, if you can, use your foot to hit the flush.
- Step 4: Sinks in public toilets are most likely more unhygienic than the toilet seat itself since people come out with all the grimy stuff on their hands and head straight to them. For this reason, make sure to properly wash your hands. Use some liquid soap and rinse for at least 10-20 seconds before you wash. Ensure you use tissues to turn off the tap if it isn’t automatic.
- Step 5: Dry your hands, always. Under a dryer is the best option.
- Step 6: If you’re ready to leave the washroom, be aware that you’re about to encounter the next most likely contaminated area – the toilet door handle. Remember to pick up a tissue to open the door with.
- Step 7: Finish up with a hand sanitizer and you’re good to go!
|↑1||Christenfeld, Nicholas. “Choices from identical options.” Psychological Science 6, no. 1 (1995): 50-55.|