8 Tips for Great Restroom Etiquette

Maybe it’s just me, but in the last two months it appears people are becoming sloppier and messier with how they use and leave public restrooms. Regardless of whether this is a new trend, now that there are many more unisex (for both men and women) public restrooms, here are 8 tips for what to keep in mind, at home, at the office, and other public facilities:

1. Limit the chatter.
Whenever you are a restroom with a friend, it’s not the place to socialize and carry on long, personal conversations. Women often talk between cubicles, which drives me crazy. Granted, questions are mostly generic, such as “Did you have a good weekend?” My response is usually silence, or a quick “I’ll tell you when we’re out.”

Apparently this also goes on at men’s urinals. Maybe it would be fine when you are the only two men there, but when there are others in the room, curtail all chitchat until you are out of the room.

2. Please don’t take phone calls.
I can always tell when someone—especially my husband—answers my calls when in the bathroom. I can hear those distinctive sounds of water running, flushing, and other private noises, which he says he only allows when I call… I hope so. Yet, it’s double worse when in a public restroom. Wait until you are out of the restroom to make or receive calls. Tell the person you will call them right back or place them on hold by pressing the mute button until you are out of the room.

3. Tidy up after yourself.
There’s nothing worse than entering a restroom or a cubicle to see paper towels or toilet paper on the floor, or a toilet seat all dirty and messy from spills.  Whether in a public facility, at home, or at the office, it’s your duty to maintain the clean and neat appearance of the facility, by cleaning up your own messes. Especially in the office, your reputation could be at risk when seen leaving a cubicle or room left with messes. You don’t want people to conclude you expect them or others to clean it up for you.
So,
— when dripping on the seat, or around a urinal, wipe it up!
— When splashing water around the sink, on the floor, or leaving other messes on the counter, clean it up!
— When you drop paper towels or toilet paper on the floor, pick it up!

4. Keep your eyes to yourself at urinals.
Look up and ahead, and for the best privacy, choose the urinal or a cubicle that is toward the back of the room or farthest away from other facilities.

5. Keep odors to a minimum.
If there is a toilet lid, use it. They were invented for a reason: to keep odors from permeating. When an air freshener spray is available, use it to reduce odors for the next person entering the cubicle or room. Having to enter a room or cubicle with unpleasant smells is never fun.
Special tip: A friend once told me she keeps a small bottle of air deodorizer in her handbag, because the medication she took left bad odors when relieving herself. I thought that was most kind of her to carry that extra weight around. You may also consider doing what’s known as a courtesy flush. This is when you flush as soon as you poop, to again reduce any permeating odors.

6. I don’t have to tell you to flush, do I?
I can’t believe how often I enter a stall only to find that the previous person didn’t flush. No one enjoys seeing what was left behind. There is no downside to flushing, so I don’t understand why some people don’t do it.

7. Alert people when out of supplies.
Whenever possible, always alert someone when supplies are depleted. If extra supplies are available at your office, take a moment to replenish what’s used up yourself. After all, the office is your home away from home.

8. Always, always wash your hands.
My all-time Number 1 pet peeve is seeing anyone leave a facility without first having washed his or her hands. It doesn’t matter if your hand didn’t touch anything dirty. Washing hands is a good habit for multiple reasons. So use this time to keep germs of any kind away.

Happy Practicing!

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1 Response to "8 Tips for Great Restroom Etiquette"

  • Ayisha says: