How To Safeguard Yourself From Unhygienic Public Washrooms

How To Safeguard Yourself From Unhygienic Public Washrooms

You catch up with your friends in a neighbourhood bar, the cocktails keep flowing and why not, you really needed a break. Midway into the night, you visit the ladies room. Now it isn’t the best of experiences to be in a washroom frequently visited by intoxicated youngsters, but you can’t avoid your bladder! Nobody wants to return home from a night out with a disease!

Find the cleanest stall

Scouting the washroom for the cleanest stall can be demanding. When presented with multiple closed doors, how do you guess which one is free from droplets of urine on the seat, bundles of toilet paper inside and some dripping water on the floor? Fortunately, a study has been conducted on the picking patterns of individuals. Most women tend to go for the middle stall, while the one furthest from the door is a close second. What does that mean? Avoid these and head for the less-frequented first stall. It really does pay to follow the road less travelled, especially if it leads you to a cleaner washroom.

Beware of the toilet seat

Though as mentioned earlier that a majority of women squat over the toilet seat, all that effort isn’t needed—unless you are using the opportunity to exercise your butt. Scientific studies have proven that gym equipment and even your cell phones have more bacteria than a toilet seat does.  A 2011 PLOS study on the microbial composition of public washrooms found that a majority of bacteria found on the toilet seat are human-associated and don’t pose a threat. However, sometimes the seat is wet (probably because of people who hover over and don’t aim well) and it’s gross to sit over it. Wipe the seat off using toilet paper and use a seat sanitiser. You may also use disposable paper covers to further sooth your gag reflexes.

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Flushing the toilet

After you’ve tackled the seat, it’s only half the job done. The flush handle not only has been touched by several persons preceding you but also has the residual fecal matter on it. You must always touch the flush handle using toilet paper. In fact, fecal contamination can occur when you flush the toilet and the water gets sprayed around or aerosolises. That’s why you must always close the lid and flush.

Washing and drying your hands

After you’re done with business, the faucet is the first thing you touch and contaminate. No matter how thoroughly you wash your hands, use touch the same adulterated faucet again. You may not fall sick because of the microbes on the toilet seat unless you have an open cut or wound since the bacteria do need an entering. However, when you use your hands to consume food, you are directly allowing the dangerous bacteria into your body. Always use a tissue paper to handle all the faucets.

Several public washrooms have hand dryers instead of tissue papers. The base of the dryer is already contaminated with germs from other people and with 30 seconds of air-blowing, several aerosols are released in your immediate environment. Always carry pocket tissues or a cotton napkin and sanitize your hands after drying.

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Exiting the washroom

Picture courtesy: BABStv.com

According to a report, a doorknob has 8,643 bacteria per square inch as opposed to a toilet seat which has 1,201 bacteria per square inch. As several people touch the doorknob, and we don’t know where their hands had been before that, it is better to stay off that handle. Use a tissue to open the door.

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