Public bathroiStock_000007698361XSmalloms are dirty and nasty, but chances are you can’t permanently avoid using one, thus knowledge is your best defense.
There are so many germs of vast varieties that congregate in the common places of a public restroom. Unfortunately this makes it way too easy for us to pick them up and take them with us. A report from MSN states that public restrooms are the dirtiest and most risky places for germs to be picked up. And these aren’t just “sniffle” germs; they’re the kinds that make us sick with diarrhea or fever and chills, and if bad enough can put us in the hospital (which by the way has the cleanest restrooms).
Bathrooms provide the perfect environment for microorganisms to grow. Not only is there moisture on the floor and counter, but whatever’s tracked in on the bottom of our shoes, mixed with feces and urine make for a perfect storm of germs. When using a public restroom, keep these facts in mind:

  • The first stall is always best…contrary to popular belief, the last stall is used the most so there’s 400 times more bacteria than in the first stall.
  • The toilet seat is actually cleaner than the floor! The nastiest germs come from the floor so avoid touching it and placing bags on it; otherwise, setting your purse on the floor could place you in the 30% that end up with fecal matter on the bottom of it.
  • Dry your hands completely before leaving. Since bacteria thrive in moisture, leaving your hands damp while touching door handles could be risky.
  • Use paper towels rather than air dryers…studies show that air dryers can increase bacteria by 160%. Paper towels decrease bacteria by 76%.

Another way to cut back on the amount of microscopic critters you take with you is a portable restroom trailer.158 If you are at a large outdoor event or will be hosting one, consider a restroom trailer. They are a cleaner, more sanitary alternative to public restrooms or even porta potties. They provide warm running water with soap, paper towels, foot flushers, and a more personal atmosphere. With an attendant on hand, restroom trailers remain hygienic and less hazardous to your health.