How to Use a Public Toilet without Picking Up a Disease
Separate restroom hygiene fact from fiction – here's how.
Step 1: Choose the right stall Choose the first or last stall. The middle ones usually get the most traffic, and therefore contain the most bacteria.
Step 2: Hang your bag If you're carrying a bag, hang it on the hook. If there's no hook, hang it around your neck. Researchers have found that one-third of women's purses have fecal bacteria on the bottom.
Step 3: Sit the hell down Go ahead and sit down. You can't catch anything -- even if the seat is sprinkled with urine -- as long as you don't have any broken skin. And hovering can cause a urinary infection because it prevents you from emptying your bladder. If you have any cuts on your butt or upper thighs, line the seat with toilet paper.
TIP: You're more likely to pick up bathroom germs with your hands than with your butt.
Step 4: Flush carefully Use a piece of toilet paper to flush. Flushing sprays bacteria into the air like an aerosol can, covering nearby surfaces.
Step 5: Wash your hands Wash your hands by wetting them with warm water, applying soap, and lathering up for about 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice. Rinse well under running water.
TIP: Turn off the faucet using a paper towel or a tissue; the faucet handle is the third-dirtiest place in the bathroom, after the floor, and the sanitary napkin disposal.
Step 6: Dry your hands Use an air hand dryer or dry paper towels to dry your hands.
FACT: Men use the toilet an average of six times a day while women visit the restroom about 10 times a day.