General chatter - Random thought about public restrooms...




msnewbooty
04-04-2007, 01:57 PM
I just went to the bathroom here at my office and a thought came to mind - often I hear others using those "toilet seat protector" thingies. I never use them as I think theyre just too much trouble and I generally think they are reserved for germaphobes. But I imagine there are more people out there using these things than I realize.

Do any of you use those lil flimsy paper things? What kind of "germs" am I exposing myself to here?? :p


mmnby
04-04-2007, 02:00 PM
If they are there I will use them expecially if someone else just used the toilet (I prefer the seat cold from no use rather then the warmth of just used). But I find most places I go don't have them. I try not to think about what kind of germs there are.

Glory87
04-04-2007, 02:03 PM
My best friend at work spent most of a car ride recently arguing about the paper things. I am against and she is for.

If there is anything gross and wet on the seat, it would soak right through the paper and touch me anyway. This site pretty much sums up my feeling:

http://ask.yahoo.com/20060217.html


mandalinn82
04-04-2007, 02:09 PM
My understanding of the paper things is as follows:

they reduce the incidence of disease, but not in the way you think...most women are uncomfortable sitting on a bare toilet seat, so they either use the paper thingies or they stand/squat. Stand/squatting increases the incidence of bladder infections because you don't fully empty the bladder, so its better to use a paper thing to artificially reassure yourself that you can sit, rather than to squat. However, everything I've read shows no difference between using the paper seat covers and not when it comes to disease transmission.

After all, when you flush a toilet, bacteria fly up everywhere (in a standard home bathroom, they reach all corners - thats why I try to close the lid before I flush). Those toilet seat covers are RIGHT above the toilet, getting a nice spray of bacteria every time someone flushes.

alinnell
04-04-2007, 02:35 PM
I never use them. I've never seen the need. And I've never caught anything. Granted, in the dirtiest bathrooms (if I HAVE to use them) I squat because they NEVER seem to have those protectors. Usually the nicely stocked clean bathrooms are the ones with the protectors so I wonder what the need is for them.

msnewbooty
04-04-2007, 02:48 PM
Haha, too funny! :D

Thats what I always figured too...if you are that worried about germs, you wouldnt be in a public bathroom to start with. I think every other woman here in my office uses them - I am constantly hearing them and seeing them left on the floor, etc. So apparently my "germs" are the only ones on the seat anyway, so I dont need them! ;)

almostheaven
04-04-2007, 03:26 PM
I don't think they protect you from germs so much as they protect you from sitting your butt down in some not-so-neat persons "near" misses. Ewwwwww I use them when they're available. If not, I wipe down the seat first. If it's a really nasty nasty restroom, I don't sit, I squat. Even if I can't see anything on the seat, I wipe it or cover it. I've had occasion to sit down on what looked to be a dry/clean seat just to feel wetness on my thighs/cheeks and nearly lost my lunch. :faint:

Goodbye Chubby
04-04-2007, 03:40 PM
I noticed that I was the only person in my office who used those seat protectors, and I was afraid that everyone would think I thought that everyone else had all kinds of germy diseases (which I don't). I was just taught to cover the seat when I was a child. So, now I stick to using toilet paper to cover the seat (the way my mother taught me) so it's quieter; that way I feel comfortable sitting down and I'm not offending anyone else. Yeah...I think it's a little sad that I've put that much thought into the situation.

I never heard of the "squatting" thing until adulthood. I still think it's strange, but if someone insists on doing that then I must insist that she clean up after herself. Why make a complete stranger mop up your mess? One of our administrative staff actually had to send out an e-mail to the ladies in our office, saying:
"If you sprinkle when you tinkle
Please be neat and wipe the seat."

WaterRat
04-04-2007, 03:47 PM
I don't use them unless someone has squatted and spashed - eeeewwww. Why can't people clean up after themselves? My grandmother taught me to use toilet paper on the seats long before they made paper covers. Why can't everyone do that if they don't want to sit on the seat? Much better than squatting for all the reasons mentioned here. :)

I work in a public building (library) where there are no staff bathrooms, and I could tell you lots of stories of things people do in public bathrooms - esp teenaged boys! And then of course, there was the woman who laid her baby down on the floor in the middle of the building - no blanket underneath - and proceeded to change its diaper!! :eek: She was quite offended when I suggested she might use the diaper changing table in the ladies' room! Yikes.

Suzanne 3FC
04-04-2007, 04:08 PM
An interesting view from a doctor:
http://blogs.webmd.com/all-ears/2006/06/dirty-places-part-1-public-toilets.html?src=RSS_BLOGGER

And if you really want something interesting, google 'squat toilets'. No paper necessary :lol:

FrouFrou
04-04-2007, 04:46 PM
I like how the doc assumes womens restrooms are clean. For the most part women are nasty. Yes, I said it. I don't understand this. They are afraid to touch the set so squat/hover making a big mess. If they would just clean the toilet seat and sit on it they will be fine. I've seen all kinds of nasty stuff in the womens bathrooms and don't understand. Oh well...I won't use a toilet that has urine spread on it from women who squat, or after someone has just made a poopie, lol. And left it, and/or when they are on their cycle and don't bother to flush...nasty & very disgusting. But...I do sit on the toilet seat without the paper things. I always wipe the toilet before I sit on it. Not saying that gets rid of the germs. But I have been doing this for years and am fine.

alinnell
04-04-2007, 04:48 PM
That's a great article, Suzanne! Thanks!

aphil
04-04-2007, 05:05 PM
I also agree that if women choose to "squat" as to not touch the seat-then they should clean the seat when they are done.

I also believe that if everyone were clean-making sure their feminine products made the trash recepticle, wiping the seat if they spray/splash, flush, and made sure their paper towels/trash were in the receptacle-then the restrooms wouldn't be so nasty.

I worked in a fast food place as a teen for a year and had bathroom duty...I also managed a hair salon and worked in a tanning salon for a few years-and it AMAZES me how disgusting people can be.

This is totally gross-but in the hair salon I worked at, someone urinated in the trash can in one of the tanning bed rooms. Honestly-if you have to go, then stop by the restroom before you undress and get into the bed. Don't go in the trash that is supposed to be for your tanning stickers/kleenex/used tanning lotion bottles and use it as a toilet. Someone has to clean it! :mad:

I also worked in a gas station for a few months while I was in college-and had bathroom duty there...and what I have discovered, is that workers clean these public restrooms daily-the reason that many of them are so gross/dirty/disgusting is because of the patrons...not because they are not being cleaned. If everyone treated public restrooms like you would treat your mothers/best friends bathroom-they wouldn't be nasty.

:)

Off my soapbox now. :lol:

BlueToBlue
04-04-2007, 05:43 PM
I don't usually use the paper protectors because they are such a hassle and once I get into a bathroom I'm practically incontinent (something about being in a bathroom triggers an incredibly stong urge to pee), so I don't have a lot of time to waste before I sit my butt down on the toilet.

The American terminal at the Dallas airport, however, has plastic protectors/sleeves that completely surround the toilet seat. You push a button on the wall, and a new protector slides into place. I LOVE that! Especially since airport bathrooms are usually pretty disgusting. I've seen them a few other places and I really hope they become more common.

My perfect public bathroom would be almost completely touchless:
- plastic sleeves covering toilet seat
- motion sensor to slide new sleeve into place
- motion sensor or foot pedal to flush toilet
- motion sensor to turn on faucet
- motion sensor to unroll paper towel or a paper towel that you can just grab without pushing any buttons, turning cranks, etc.
- No door, just a s-shaped entry way so you don't have to touch a doorknob after washing your hands
- Also, in airport bathrooms, stall doors that open out so that you can get your carry-on into the stall without standing on the toilet

I've seen all of these features in public bathrooms but I've never seen a single bathroom that incorporates all of them. You wouldn't think it would be rocket science, but I guess it is. And yes, it's a little scary that I've put this much thought into it, but you would have too if you'd spent as much time in airport bathrooms as I have.

GatorgalstuckinGA
04-04-2007, 06:00 PM
i don't use them...if the seat is dirty..i got to a clean one. My opinion is...that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger...all 33 years of my life..no squating, no toliet cover...and so far..no std's no viruses and no strange rashes on my rear. So i guess so far so good. (:

kaplods
04-04-2007, 06:17 PM
I would second the desire for no doorknob entry into washrooms. I really don't worry much about the seat (if it's dry), because the parts touching the seat aren't that sensitive to germs (healthy skin is the best germ protector). Studies have shown that toilet seats have a fraction of the germs found in the average home kitchen, and virtually none of the "nasties" that people assume would be there. The biggest germ spreader is the hand.

What bugs me is when you wash and dry your hands and then grab a wet door handle Ewwww. So if the paper towels and trash are very close to the door, after I dry my hands I will take a fresh paper towel, open the door with it, hold the door open with my foot and throw the towel away before exiting. I tend to be more paranoid when I'm in a restaurant restroom, because I want clean hands if I'm going to be eating, but I also think we tend to be a little too paranoid about germs.

shrinkingchica
04-04-2007, 06:20 PM
My perfect public bathroom would be almost completely touchless:
- plastic sleeves covering toilet seat
- motion sensor to slide new sleeve into place
- motion sensor or foot pedal to flush toilet
- motion sensor to turn on faucet
- motion sensor to unroll paper towel or a paper towel that you can just grab without pushing any buttons, turning cranks, etc.
- No door, just a s-shaped entry way so you don't have to touch a doorknob after washing your hands
- Also, in airport bathrooms, stall doors that open out so that you can get your carry-on into the stall without standing on the toilet
.

Ha! YES! That would be perfect.

Just to add, though, that charmin sells little paper protectors that are purse-sized and there is a sanitation spray for toliet seats that you can buy, it is called sani-gen. I carry both at all times. Along with purell, because I don't trust the soaps.

Okay, I am a bit o' a germ-a-phob, but, I don't think that it is excessive.

4myloves
04-04-2007, 06:23 PM
I tend to be more paranoid when I'm in a restaurant restroom, because I want clean hands if I'm going to be eating, but I also think we tend to be a little too paranoid about germs.

I hope you never eat at buffet-style restaurants. ;)

ennay
04-04-2007, 07:20 PM
I always felt that you were exposing yourself to more by touching the toilet seat with your HANDS to put the paper on than with your butt. After all, all the ummm openings where germs can enter are safely away from the seat

I hate to think about the toddler thing. Try telling a toddler NOT to suck her thumb until she washes her hands. OY the germs that girl has gotten from thumb sucking

My SIL squats. Always. In her own home. Has since she was 12, she is now 30. On the other hand she has kick butt quads!

And can I say my pet peeve....is people who USE the paper things and LEAVE them on the seat. I dont want to touch your wet TP tyvm.

Heather
04-04-2007, 07:25 PM
Okay, here's something I don't understand. I kind of get if you don't want to touch the doorknob of the restroom because of what might be on it, but what about the NEXT doorknob, or whatever the person with the germs touched AFTER that doorknob?

Or maybe I don't get why people don't want to touch doorknobs in bathrooms!!

I think cleanliness is important, but I sometimes think we worry too much about the wrong things.

shrinkingchica
04-04-2007, 07:34 PM
I always felt that you were exposing yourself to more by touching the toilet seat with your HANDS to put the paper on than with your butt.
.

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I don't touch the seat to put on the cover. The whole point is not to have to. I have it gently flutter down. Sometimes it takes two tries, but it is entirely possible...... as the whole point is to avoid touching the seat at all.

ennay
04-04-2007, 07:34 PM
Funny, just to compare, they did a study locally and the diaper changing tables in most public restrooms were very clean. Except the ones at the hospitals, they were filthy. Just goes to show, you never know!

almostheaven
04-04-2007, 07:58 PM
Yeah, I don't touch the seat to put the paper on either, and I leave the center flap hanging down into the bowl so that when I flush, it flushes with it.

I've been to some restrooms where I've tried every available stall to find feces and every other imagainable smearing all over the toilet...sometimes in the floor. :( If I HAVE to go and can't hold it, I squat. But believe me, if it's bad enough that I feel a need to squat, I'm not touching it to clean up after myself or what's already there. It's disgusting enough that I needed to squat in the first place. Yuck.

BlueToBlue
04-04-2007, 09:54 PM
Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I don't touch the seat to put on the cover. The whole point is not to have to. I have it gently flutter down. Sometimes it takes two tries, but it is entirely possible...... as the whole point is to avoid touching the seat at all.

OMG--I would totally pee my pants before the cover would have a chance to gently flutter down, even if I managed to get it right on the first try. :lol:

sweet_talker
04-05-2007, 12:19 AM
My perfect public bathroom would be almost completely touchless:
- plastic sleeves covering toilet seat
- motion sensor to slide new sleeve into place
- motion sensor or foot pedal to flush toilet
- motion sensor to turn on faucet
- motion sensor to unroll paper towel or a paper towel that you can just grab without pushing any buttons, turning cranks, etc.
- No door, just a s-shaped entry way so you don't have to touch a doorknob after washing your hands
- Also, in airport bathrooms, stall doors that open out so that you can get your carry-on into the stall without standing on the toilet


I was going to mention the plastic toilet seat covers, and other automatic things. I've been to a couple restaurants that had all of those. And one that had an automatic soap dispenser too. Ooooh, ahhhhh.

I would also like to mention -- this is where you can take pity, or remember not so fondly ;) (joking) -- that I live in residence for university and so I basically have been using public bathrooms for everything (showering too!) for 8 months. Bleh!! And they're disgusting and inhabited by messy, messy boys, and drunk people. There is something about people not having to clean up after themselves that makes them dispicably dirty.

kaplods
04-05-2007, 01:29 AM
When I was working for a big insurance company (cubicle world), I had a coworker who "collected," and told nasty bathroom stories. Apparently men at least in corporate public restrooms are much nastier than the women in general, but I could have told a few that would have held up against his worst.

Don't worry, I will tell only the cleanest here - for instance, how I was more than a little disturbed by a coworker who would use her cell phone while in the bathroom stall.

ennay
04-05-2007, 01:46 AM
Men are definitely worse. I've had to clean public bathrooms(long ago and far away) and my college had the infinitely stupid idea to put the bathrooms alternating sides on alternating otherwise identical floors so I accidentally walked into the mens room and even before I saw the urinal, the odor hit me.

junebug41
04-05-2007, 02:09 AM
Ok. There should totally be a "Best Of" section on 3FC for threads like this. This has been one of the most enlightening online discussions I have ever seen.

Charlotte, I'm like you. Wet Ones and Purell abound! I hate having to wipe off a toilet seat more than anything in this world and I have turned into a manic handwasher (whenever I get home I go straight for the sink- hey, I take public transportation) and have gotten into the habit of not touching anything when I'm in a public restroom, unless I *know* how clean it is and that I'm the only one using it (like at my old job).

It amazes me how much people do not wash their hands, and even more so, how they pretend to wash their hands, but don't.

zenor77
04-05-2007, 02:18 AM
My best friend works in the medical field and I also have another friend with a PhD in epidemiology (statistics of disease.) I agree with both of them that toilet seat covers are pretty much useless and in my mind a waste of paper. I'm not trying to offend anyone, this is just my opinion.

Most diseases that would affect you in that area can only live in body fluids (I know, ewww, sorry.) In other words, most diseases die within seconds of hitting the air. If a toilet seat is moist, I take toilet paper, wipe it down, count for 30 seconds, and sit. I've never had any problems. From what I understand urine is sterile anyway, so the germs on the toilet seat must be coming from something else.

Honestly, I think you pick up more germs from flushing and from the bathroom door handle (I can't believe there are still people who don't wash their hands.)

I'm fairly obsessive about hand washing though. I make sure and wash for at least 20 seconds. I go through a lot of lotion with all the hand washing I do.

All that said, if using toilet seat covers makes you more comfortable and able to go, then use them. I think it all boils down to personal comfort level.

almostheaven
04-05-2007, 11:22 AM
It amazes me how much people do not wash their hands, and even more so, how they pretend to wash their hands, but don't.
I went to the mall restroom one day and changed the baby, then used the bathroom, and yes...I washed. Or "warshed" as its commonly referred to here (and out of my hubby's earshot). :D

But what I DID note was that 7 other women came in that restroom. Only ONE of them washed when they finished. And no, the one that washed was NOT the employee OR the other woman who changed a poopy diaper. Ewwwwwww

I can't always get to a sink either so I carry sanitizer. For your sanitizer addicts, if you have a CVS in your area, they carry a sanitizer pen. It's like any ballpoint pen but it dispenses hand sanitizer. Fits neatly in a pocket. ;)

ThinWithin225
04-05-2007, 10:52 PM
I am also grossed out by women who "sprinkle'. If you have to squat, at least clean up after yourself. On the other hand, I am a nurse and I have yet to hear of anyone who has gotten any dreaded disease from a public restroom. I am not obsessed with hand sanitizers or public bathrooms or bleaching everything! I work in an elementary school and constantly have parents asking me "How come you never get sick? My kindergartener has been sick X number of times this year!" I try to explain to them that I get bombarded with so many germs that I have great immunity. You are not going to be able to fight off germs if you are never exposed! Also, the theory about bacteria flying around when you flush the toilet is completely false. The myth busters debunked that one through an actual laboratory experiment.

lizziness
04-05-2007, 11:40 PM
i think i have a public restroom phobia. For some reason every time i'm in there i want to get in and out as fast as possible because i'm scared someone is going to come in and throw up and i have a HUGE vomit phobia... this is weird, but hey it's me. :)
I am usually in too much of a hurry to care about the toilet seat cover. I have been in a few places where I did decide I could hold it until a cleaner bathroom came along...*LOL*

I have a major peeve with people who pee on the seat or leave their seat cover on the toilet - I figure if your *** is that precious, then so is mine and you should have to clean up after yourself! :)

i am thoroughly convinced that while men's rooms may be stinkier -women's rooms are filthier! the disgusting things i've seen at work are enough for me to crawl out of my skin. i always wash my hands and the hit the hand sanitizer before i sit down at my cube.