Public restrooms are not always the cleanest places to visit. Even a clean public restroom can harbor many germs just by the fact that so many people use the same facility all day long. There have been a few studies that have shown that although public restrooms may seem like a scary germ-filled place, most do not carry an above average amount of germs. However, that doesn’t mean you should throw good common sense out the window. To decrease your chance of contracting germs or just helping you feel more comfortable using a public restroom, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

Steps

  1. Look into multiple stalls. When you first enter a public restroom, take a quick survey of the available stalls. Make a smart choice on what stall to use.
  1. Choose a stall that seems the cleanest. The toilet should be flushed, the seat should be dry and free of any visible debris and there should be toilet paper and seat protectors.
  2. Many times one or two stalls may be visible dirty or contaminated. These stalls should be avoided if possible.
  3. If your only option is to use a dirtier or unclean stall, use more precaution and employ as many safe use practices as possible.

  1. Flush safely. There is actually more chance of spreading bacteria or getting bacteria on you when you flush the toilet. Be careful and mindful when flushing public restroom toilets.
  1. When a toilet is flushed, the “spray zone” can be up to 6 feet. If you’re in the stall and flush, you’re right in the middle of that zone.
  2. Use toilet paper to touch the handle. Avoid using your bare hand to flush the toilet. Use some toilet paper or use your foot to flush.
  3. In addition, face away from the toilet when you flush. That way your face and mouth are not facing the toilet and will be away from the spray zone.
  4. Use toilet paper to open the door. It stands to reason that the inside latch of the toilet door is dirtier than the outside latch. Use a small piece of toilet paper to open it with and dispose of this paper immediately in the bin upon exiting.

 

  1. Wash your hands. Washing your hands is probably one of the most important parts of using a public restroom. And unfortunately, many times the sink is the germiest place in the restroom.
  1. Wash your hands in the warmest water available or that is comfortable to you. The hot water helps sanitize your hands.
  2. Wash your hands using soap for at least 20 seconds under running water, (Happy birthday song twice).

 

  1. Dry your hands appropriately. After you wash your hands, it’s important to continue your safe hand washing practice with appropriate hand drying practices. You can still come into contact with germs when you’re drying your hands.
  1. Ideally, the bathroom will have paper towels. If this is an option, also turn off the faucet with a paper towel. Use a separate towel to dry your hands and open the door of the bathroom to exit.
  2. Studies show that some hand dryers blow water back towards your face. In addition, other hand dryers catch water at the bottom of the drying unit and blow that collected water back up towards the user.
  3. If a hand dryer is the only method of drying your hands, follow the use of these machines by rubbing your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

 

  1. Leave the restroom safely. When you’re leaving the restroom, you should still be wary of germs that you could come in contact with.
  1. Remember, although you washed your hands, others may not have. There is still a significant amount of germs on the door and handle of the restroom
  2. Use a small square of toilet paper or hand-drying paper to open the door that leads out of the toilets. It may sound finicky but after all your hard efforts to wash your hands, continue without coming in contact with more germs.
  3. Also consider following up your bathroom break by using a hand sanitizer. This can help remove any additional germs you may have picked up.

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