toilet sign china

Public Toilet TIPS!

If you travel or go out and about a lot, you’ve certainly experienced a lot of public restrooms. And if you do so, you’ll know that having a joyful or disgusting bathroom experience can influence your mood on a given day.

One might not always have the comfort of a homey bathroom, but there are certain things one can indeed keep in mind to make the public bathroom experience a less dreadful one!

Your bathroom experience is bound to vary greatly depending on what part of the world you are in, but here are some generic tips that apply from pretty decent bathrooms in city malls, to rural and developing areas too. These are not tips that will make the hand sanitizer type of freak any less alarmed of using a common drop zone, but instead geared towards the average person who, not having nightmares about germs, still wants his/her bathroom experience to be a clean and happy one.


1. NEVER go to the first cubicle!

Bathroom stalls: choose the one that's further away!..

Bathroom stalls: choose the one that's further away!..

The initial bathrooms in a given row of a public restroom tends to be the most used one. You’re better off going a little further down, where things tend to be tidier.


2. Bring your own toilet paper

This should be enough toilet paper...

This should be enough toilet paper…

If it’s important for you to use tissue, carry your own. Specially when traveling around some countries in Asia where using water is the norm.


3. Avoid restrooms close to food courts

Some people like eating in restaurants that look like bathrooms, but that's another story...

Some people like eating in restaurants that look like bathrooms, but that's another story…

In malls, these are often a little messier as a lot of people go to the bathroom before or, even worse, after meals. Quieter parts of the mall are bound to offer a safer experience.


4. Wear clothes you can easily take off

Squat toilet

Squat toilet

Let me explain: in certain regions of Asia squat toilets are more common than sitting ones. Therefore, it’s important to wear clothes (as in pants / skirt) you can take off easily to do your deeds without making your garments wet. Keep in mind that very often there are no hooks to hang your pants, backpack or purse, so you need to hold on to those in order to keep everything dry. Good luck keeping the balance!


5. Cover your feet

You don't wanna step in here with flip flops, do you?!

You don't wanna step in here with flip flops, do you?!

Avoid very thin sandals and flip flops if you don’t want your feet to get wet, specially in Asia where water buckets and “toilet showers” are common.


6. Use a friend as a hanger

Human hanger (photo by ivo_skopje on Flickr)

Human hanger (photo by ivo_skopje on Flickr)

If you’re with someone else, ask them to keep your stuff while you go inside. Sometimes there is no hanger or clean/dry area to place your bag and doing it with your bag still on your back is quite uncomfortable (believe me, I know).


7. Carry water with you

Jennifer Aniston does it too!

Jennifer Aniston does it too!

Always have some spare water with you: for the hands (some bathrooms don’t have water) and even to wash yourself down there (hello again Asian friends!).. or for whatever else might come in handy (no pun intended).


8. Time your bathroom break according to your transportation schedule

Let the train go choo choo before you start to poo

Let the train go choo choo before you start to poo

During bus rides, especially in developing countries with bumpy roads, it’s best to use the toilet when you stop at a red signal or similar. You’ll appreciate the stability. But if you’re on a train instead, avoid using the WC when the train is still. The hole of the toilet is often open and will dump your waste in the rail-tracks. So you might as well do it somewhere down the line, not at the station. Plus there’s the added wind that comes up when you’re in motion – some people dig that.


9. Don’t make ass contact

Don't sit down in a public toilet

Don't sit down in a public toilet

As a kid, my mom taught me I shouldn’t sit in public toilets. Just in case, lean towards the area, but if you can avoid bum contact, that’s probably better. Lean yourself in the sink if there’s one on the side, or let your legs do some flexing exercise. Healthier all around!


10. When everything else fails, go al fresco!

Need to go to the toilet? Embrace the great outdoors!

Need to go to the toilet? Embrace the great outdoors!

Even if someone has to see your butt in the distance, sometimes going behind a tree can be better than entering a stinky filth covered bathroom. We’re creatures of nature, after all!


Do you have any tips to add?

Leave us a comment!


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  • Ayush Says

    Hahahahah!!! thanks for the tips :P

  • Mig Says

    Hilarious tips! In regards to ass contact, I believe there is research that shows that there are more germs on a desk than a toilet seat. Just sayin.

    • Zara Says

      That is true, Mig!
      As far as I understand there are actually more germs even on the tap that one touches to open and close the water flow, than in most toilet seats!..

  • Very interesting and fun-to-read post! Photo 5 (Cover Your Feet) is gross and definitely not a toilet I would never enter. I did the Al Fresco way once when I was in Mongolia – it’s really the last resort as I usually can hold on to the ‘full tank’ for hours!

    • Zara Says

      You are right, the toilet in photo 5 doesn’t look very inviting.. but sometimes one doesn’t have many options!! Holding on to the “full tank” can come in handy in some parts of the world! ;)

  • Another great post… I was laughing my ass off with this!
    I LOVE the squatting toilets and have been thinking about exchange my sitting toilet for a squatting one, it’s more hygienic and much more healthy.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Yara!
      Western tourists often make fun of squat toilets but some of them don’t realize how they are actually way healthier and, as you say, tend to be more hygienic too!

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