How to use a public toilet: 11 steps (with pictures)

How to use a public toilet: 11 steps (with pictures)
How to use a public toilet: 11 steps (with pictures)

Public toilets are not always the cleanest places to visit. Even the cleanest can harbor germs, as many people pass through them every day. There are many studies that have shown that public toilets can look like a zoo for germs and bacteria, but without being more dangerous than other public places. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use common sense when using them. To reduce your risk of catching germs or just to help you feel more comfortable in them, there are several tips to consider.


Part 1 of 2: using the public toilet

Use a Public Restroom Step 1

Step 1. Observe the different cabinets

When you enter the public washroom, take a quick look at the available toilets. Smartly choose which one you want to use.

  • Choose the one that you think is the cleanest. The toilet bowl should be clean, the toilet seat should be dry and free from any visible marks, and there should be toilet paper and seat protectors.
  • Often you will find that some cabinets are already dirty or contaminated. You should avoid them as much as possible.
  • If you have no choice but to use a dirty cabinet, you need to take extra care and be careful as much as possible.
Use a Public Restroom Step 2

Step 2. Flush the toilet securely

The time you flush the toilet is also the time when you are most at risk of infecting yourself with bacteria. Be careful when you have to flush the toilet in public toilets.

  • As the toilet flushes, the splash zone extends two meters around the bowl. If you are in the cabinet and flush the toilet, you are right in the middle of this area.
  • Use toilet paper to touch the handle. Avoid touching the flush handle with your hands. Use toilet paper or use your foot.
  • In addition, try to turn your back to the bowl. This way your face and mouth are not in front of the bowl when you flush and they will not be exposed in the splash area.
  • Use toilet paper to open the door. It makes sense that the inside cabinet handle is dirtier than the outside handle. Use a small piece of toilet paper to open the door and immediately throw it in the trash.
Use a Public Restroom Step 3

Step 3. Wash your hands

Probably one of the most important things to do in a public bathroom is to wash your hands. Unfortunately, the sink is often the place in a public toilet that contains the most germs.

  • Wash your hands with the hottest water possible without burning yourself. Hot water will kill germs on your hands.
  • Then wash them with soap for at least twenty seconds (sing the song “Happy Birthday” twice).
Use a Public Restroom Step 4

Step 4. Dry your hands well

After you've washed them following basic safety instructions, it's important to dry them well. You can still come in contact with germs while you are drying your hands.

  • Ideally, the toilet will have paper towels. If so, you can turn off the tap with a piece of paper towel. Use another to dry your hands and to open the bathroom door to exit.
  • Studies have shown that some hand dryers blow water toward your face. In addition, other hand dryers allow water to collect at the bottom before blowing it towards the user who is drying their hands.
  • If this is the only method available for drying your hands, you can use it and then rub your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Use a Public Restroom Step 5

Step 5. Leave the toilet safely

When you come out of the toilet, you must continue to watch out for germs that you might come in contact with.

  • Remember that even if you washed your hands, others may not have. There are still a lot of germs on the door and on the handles.
  • Use a small piece of paper towel or toilet paper to open the bathroom door. It might sound a little extreme, but with all of the effort you've gone to washing your hands, you need to continue to be careful not to come in contact with germs.
  • You should also consider continuing to prevent germs from appearing on your hands by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It will help you get rid of any germs that may have ended up on your hands.
Use a Public Restroom Step 6

Step 6. Be careful when changing a baby

If you have a baby and need to go to a public bathroom to change their diapers, there are additional precautions you should take to take care of the safety of your infant.

  • Always keep a mat for changing it and a blanket. You can put them on the changing table in a public toilet or, if there is none, on a bench or chair.
  • It may also be helpful to keep baby wipes or disinfectant with you.
Use a Public Restroom Step 7

Step 7. Report dirty toilets to management

Most companies and local authorities are responsible for maintaining public toilets and want to be notified when their toilets are in poor condition. They take into account the complaints of their users.

  • Contact management or the cleaning team to tell them that they should send someone to clean the toilet.
  • If you do not get a response or if nothing is done, you can contact health services to complain.

Part 2 of 2: Prepare

Use a Public Restroom Step 8

Step 1. Bring your own paper

Unfortunately, toilet paper in many public toilets is not as clean as you might think. Do not use the first two squares to avoid germs.

  • Health experts said that when flushing, water containing germs is thrown into the air. These droplets will settle on cabinet walls and many other surfaces, including toilet paper.
  • By removing the first two squares, you will be able to reduce the number of germs you come into contact with. Throw them into the bowl before you sit down.
  • You can also keep toilet paper in a plastic bag that you slip into your purse or pocket so you don't have to use the one in the public restroom.
Use a Public Restroom Step 9

Step 2. Keep your own seat protectors

Studies have shown that although there are a lot of germs on the toilet seat, your skin is an incredibly effective barrier to preventing them from entering your body.

  • However, you may feel better using the seat protectors provided to you.
  • Once again, when the toilet is flushed, the covers provided in the cabinet could be sprayed with germs. Flush the first available toilet in the toilet.
  • Many pharmacies and camping stores carry small pouches of toilet protectors, and it can always be helpful to slip one into your purse or backpack that you can take with you wherever you go.
Use a Public Restroom Step 10

Step 3. Bring a disinfectant

It might be worth investing in some hand sanitizer that you keep with you when using a public restroom.

  • It is not always guaranteed that you will be able to sanitize your hands properly in a public toilet, which is why it is always useful to have an alternative.
  • Keep a waterless disinfectant on you. You will use it after washing your hands and after exiting the toilet, as an added precaution.
Use a Public Restroom Step 11

Step 4. Take a probiotic

Even if you never thought that taking a probiotic every day could help keep germs out of a public bathroom, health experts are of the opposite opinion.

  • Studies have shown that the more useful and healthy bacteria you have in your digestive system, the better your body will be able to defend itself against outside pathogens.
  • It is then useful to take probiotics every day especially if you have to use the public toilet regularly.
  • Take one every day that contains at least 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units). Usually, this is the amount contained in one tablet.


  • Try not to touch anything with your bare hand (eg faucet handle, flush handle, door handle, etc.).
  • Make sure you always wear shoes, whether they are sandals, flip flops, or sneakers.
  • Hold children (especially girls) over the toilet or use seat protection.
  • Always report dirty toilets.
  • Remember that other people will be using the bathroom after you. Respect others and leave the toilet as you would like it to be.
  • Bring your own wipes and toilet paper for safety.

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