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On Sanitation

I know that public restrooms provide paper seat covers as a courtesy and convenience, so toilets may remain sane sanitized, but when the seat is wet, even if the cover is like a diaper absorbent, I won’t sit on it. Regardless of the nature of the liquid on the seat, it would undoubtedly bleed through the paper cover to touch my skin. It is much better, instead, to wipe the seat with disinfectant first, or if disinfectant is not at hand, with wet, then dry paper towels. This begs the question, of course, whether using a paper seat is worthwhile at all. If water may seep through, mightn’t e. coli also, or AIDS? For that reason, it is infinitely better to sit on toilets nowhere but home, but sometimes such autonomy is impossible.



too much information, thank you.

You are very welcome, your squeamishness!

I don’t know about E.coli but AIDS cannot survive more than 5 minutes outside of a host. Small comfort when you’re sitting on a stranger’s liquids, but hey, there it is.

My policy used to be no sitting on public toilets, until I lived in Allen dorm for nearly 3 years, where your private toilet is a public toilet. Now I’ll sit on just about any toilet anywhere, except for bus station WCs and the like. Those are really just beyond the pale.

Sorry, K.

JH was the first to say, “You can’t catch AIDS from a toilet seat.” JH wins!

Are bus station toilets bad everywhere? I spent a godawful long time in a station in Los Angeles several years ago, and it was ghastly, like that suppository-diving scene in Trainspotting.

Well, like all timeless truths, it needs to be repeated from time to time.

I’ve never been in an American bus station (do they really exist?), but UK bus stations are standard hangouts for heroin addicts, drunken chavs, and the homeless. Cleaning the toilets more than once a month would be kind of pointless.

Yeah, they exist. I took the bus from Charlottesville, VA to Little Rock, AR once in high school. It wasn’t fun. I mostly remember the stations full of transients, though. I was just a kid when I was in L.A…

We priveleged ass-elitists may show disdain for squatter toilets, but the problem of one’s arse making contact with another person’s bodily fluids via a toilet seat (I will kindly disreagard other exchanges that might occur in a public restroom) simply isn’t a problem in most of the world. Sure, one might step in some other occupant’s urine or excrement, but isn’t that one reason we shouldn’t go barefoot in the first place? Do we really need to feel “enthroned” as we relieve ourselves? Smelly as they may be, I’d cast my vote for squatter toilets any day.

Ugh, I used one of those in a gas station bathroom in Istanbul. Not an experience I’m looking to repeat, but I think I could get used to it if I had to.