Let’s be honest — there’s no better bathroom than your own, private one at home. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. And while it would be nice if every public bathroom experience was a one-room luxury spa, chances are you are ‘space’ is little more than a floating metal divide. So use these public bathroom etiquette tips to make your necessities a little more comfortable and a little less blush-inducing.
Keep the Stall-to-Stall Talk to a Minimum
Public restrooms tend to be cramped and echo-y. Unless you already know your fellow bathroom partner is comfortable with some shop-talk during their business, don’t add to the uncomfortable noise. Pause your conversation until you have both finished.
Remember the Mirror is Communal. Don’t Overlook Your Welcome
A quick hand wash and lipstick action is one thing. Pulling out your entire makeup bag and a curling iron is a totally different story.
Take stock of the situation. Is the vanity area intended for getting ready — like in a gym locker room? Or is it a space really meant for washing hands and getting the duck out of fodge?
But whether it is a space where you can set up shop or one where you should just do a quick drive-by, always be aware of others. If someone needs to wash their hands, be prepared to pause what you are doing and step away. Hand washing always takes priority.
Always Help a Toilet Paper-less Soul
When the guy or gal in the stall nearby realizes they’re out of toilet paper — pass them some! No one wants to be the person who realizes a little too late that they are trying to clean up with nothing but the back of their hand — least of all you.
Pay it forward. And who knows, you might just make a friend. There’s nothing like an awkward moment to help you bond with someone right away.
Never Use the Handicap Stall Just Because
Those who physically need the handicap stall, need it. They have no other option. If there’s a long line, by all means jump in that bad boy and when someone who is handicapped shows up, they will get it next.
But if you are just popping in there for the fun of it — keep on walking.
Save the Child Changing Station for Moms and Dads
Kiddos are hard. Don’t make it any harder or a mom or sad who is just trying to get their drying baby out of a wet diaper by taking up the one space they can do so. Your purse can go somewhere else.
Tip the Bathroom Attendant
Do you tip your waiter? Do you tip the valet? Tip your bathroom attendant! These folks not only restock supplies — they clean up the space. A task that gets increasingly worse as the night wears on.
Tell Someone When the Toilet is Clogged
Whether you clogged the toilet or you found it that way, let someone at the establishment know. Public bathrooms are typically cleaned on a schedule, which means that mess could be left for quite some time.
But don’t feel like you necessarily have to cop to having done the deed. Just telling them what you ‘found’ is enough.
Always Wash Your Hands
Skipping the suds isn’t just gross, it is bad for your health. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) ranks washing your hands as one of the top ways to stop the spread of flu. Every time you go to the bathroom, make sure to wash your hands.
Notice a coworker forgot? While you could call them out, that can be a quick way to damage your relationship. A better way to handle it might be to let HR know you’ve noticed a trend of people not washing their hands. They can then send out a reminder about health and safety — so that no one is singled out.
Let the Pregnant Lady Cut
If you have been there, you know. The pregnancy pee is no joke. And sometimes, downright uncontrollable. So if a lady with an OBVIOUS (we’re talking VERY obvious folks) gets in the bathroom line, politely invite her to cut to the front. Just think of it as good karma.