Get ready, because we’re about to drop some serious public restroom knowledge. While the following information may make you reach for the bleach, we hope it also helps you keep your world safe and sparkling clean. After all, that’s our job here at Midlab!

Flush Before Going and KEEP THAT LID DOWN

Since we never really know when nature’s going to call, the use of public restrooms is often unavoidable. Unfortunately, these restrooms aren’t always the most sanitary places for people to do their business— shocking, right?

Take the toilet bowl, for example. The standing water inside the bowl is often full of microorganisms and fecal bacteria that create a germ-laden mist when disrupted by urine. Flushing a public toilet before using it can help reduce the likelihood of inhaling airborne bacteria that make people sick.

However, while it’s good to flush before use, make sure you’re keeping that lid down! According to The Fact File, “germs from a flushing toilet can move ahead up to 6 feet.” Keep that in mind next time you reach for the toilet handle, stall lock, or personal items you brought in with you.

Hands-Free Doesn’t Always Mean Germ-Free

An unlikely culprit, you’d think air dryers would be one of the cleanest parts of a public restroom since they’re hands-free. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Though a great eco-friendly alternative to paper towel use, air dryers often lack in the sanitation department.

In fact, a University of Leeds researcher discovered that automatic air dryers have 27 times the bacteria of typical paper towel dispensers (*gasp*). What does that mean for public restroom visitors? Just that bacteria are constantly being blown around while people dry their hands. Without proper cleaning, this is another great way for people to accidentally pick up stranger’s germs.

You Had One Job, Soap Dispenser…

One job— to dispense soap that keeps people’s hands clean. Yet, more often than not, when you touch a public restroom dispenser directly, you get more than just soap on your hands.

The hard (and frankly, gross) truth is that when you wash your hands at a public sink, it’s possible that bacteria from things like urine and fecal matter could be contradicting your cleanliness.

Don’t believe us? Think about the soap dispenser. There’s a good chance that the same person who’s cleaning and using it is also responsible for cleaning the toilets. That may explain why “about 25% of dispensers in public restrooms are coated by fecal bacteria,” according to Business Hygiene.

If possible, this is one public restroom encounter we do recommend going hands-free for.

Watch What Your Clean Hands Touch on the Way Out!

Hypothetical situation: you’ve managed to use a public restroom without picking up ANY germs from the toilet, sink, or hand dryer. Congrats! Just don’t get too excited yet, because there’s one more highly-germy hazard to look out for.

The door handle can be one of the dirtiest places in a public restroom. Though it may seem like common sense to wash your hands after using the toilet, not everyone does and those who do may not be washing effectively. As a matter of fact, up to 30% of men don’t wash their hands properly after using the restroom. That gives bacteria from urine and fecal matter the perfect opportunity to follow them out of the stall and stick to the very next thing they touch— the door handle!

Think we’re picking on men? In women’s restrooms, not washing properly (or at all) is just as much of a problem. The main difference is that women leave behind more yeast than urine or fecal matter.

Again, if possible, hands-free is your friend here. Swinging doors can be opened with your foot and can help decrease the number of germs transferred to you when entering or exiting a public restroom. But the best way to avoid these germs is by using a clean paper towel to open the door on your way out, and therefore avoiding direct contact altogether.

So to recap… Stay sanitary by flushing with the lid down (when possible) both before AND after using a public toilet, go hands-free when you can, but stay aware of lurking germs and please— for the sake of public restroom users everywhere— wash your hands properly.

Want to ensure your public restrooms are in tip-top shape? Reach out to a Midlab representative to learn more about our specially-formulated cleaning chemicals and solutions. Let us help you keep your facility clean and your valued guests safe.

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