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Tips for Using Women's Public Restrooms

Updated on March 31, 2017
janshares profile image

As a poet, therapist, and observer of human behavior, Janis has a keen awareness of what makes people tick and behave the way they do.

Women's Hygiene Habits May Shock You

Women apply lipstick perfectly in the mirror of a public restroom while failing to clean up after themselves.
Women apply lipstick perfectly in the mirror of a public restroom while failing to clean up after themselves. | Source

Cleanliness of Public Restrooms

How tidy are the women's public restrooms you use?

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Women Behaving Badly

One of the most untidy places you may have had the unlikely fortune of visiting is a heavily used public bathroom for women.

This is not just because of the amount of bacteria that that live there.

These expected places of respite and relief can shockingly be transformed into places of disgust, due to the careless behavior of the women who use them. The state of the restroom makes it difficult to maneuver through for freshening up or for using the stall.

Let's look at seven examples of bad habits committed by some women.

They make the public bathroom experience uncomfortable, to say the least, for those who come in after them.

Clean Toilet Seats are Hard to Find

Every woman deserves a clean toilet when she enters the stall.
Every woman deserves a clean toilet when she enters the stall. | Source

Amenities are Available for Proper Use

A sufficient supply of toilet paper is available in most stalls.
A sufficient supply of toilet paper is available in most stalls. | Source
Seat covers are usually in most stalls.
Seat covers are usually in most stalls. | Source

Seven Bad Habits Seen in the Women's Bathroom

  1. Leaving a toilet stall without flushing - this is a basic rule taught to children as young as two years old. How does one forget to do this?
  2. Dropping used tissues and paper towels on the floor instead of in the toilet of trash can - is it so hard to put trash where it belongs?
  3. Leaving hair and make-up in the sink or on the counter - it takes seconds to wipe up your own waste.
  4. Leaving used feminine products on the floor or in the toilet instead of wrapping and putting them into the available repository - enough said.
  5. Leaving bodily waste on the toilet seat - leaving the toilet seat soiled and unusable for the next person is the #1 violation for women; understandably, for some women, it is preferable to stand up, but . . . try using a toilet seat cover.
  6. Contributing to toilet clogging by flushing feminine products, paper towels, and too much tissue down the toilet - sometimes it might take two flushes to get the job done.
  7. Ignoring posted signs in the stalls regarding cleanliness and proper use of the facilities and amenities.

Cleanliness and Womanhood: A Virtue

It is a well-known myth that women are the neater of the two sexes but one would never know this looking inside of a women's public bathroom. It is expected that as women, we carry ourselves with a cleanliness that is next to godliness, so to speak:

  • Our hair, make-up, and nails are neatly done,
  • We like to express good fashion sense and taste,
  • Our hygiene is a priority, sometimes accented with a nice scent,
  • And our well-groomed presentation is attractive and appealing to the eye.

These qualities, although they may seem trivial to some, are a part of what makes us uniquely women. However, our dirty little secret is that these qualities are not always reflected in our bathroom experience.

Whether it's our behavior or the behavior of others to which we are exposed, we seem to lose a level of self-respect and dignity when we enter and exit a public bathroom. It is a mystery as to what goes wrong.

Women Primp and Apply Makeup When They Can

We love grooming and re-applying our makeup in the restroom.
We love grooming and re-applying our makeup in the restroom. | Source

Women Waiting in Line for Relief

Women are not as neat and orderly as they appear.
Women are not as neat and orderly as they appear. | Source

Understanding Women's Bathroom Habits and Behavior

It is obvious that the bad habits and behaviors outlined above do not reflect all women. Perhaps it's about improper home training or the lack of it. Maybe there's a difference in maturity levels between the generations when it comes to hygiene or even cultural differences about the use of public toilets.

Or, as most people can attest to about being in public places, it could be due to the fear of germs. Women do their business and rush to get out of there as quickly as possible to avoid exposure to possible contamination.

Whatever the case may be, we see the evidence in women's bathrooms that something goes awry in our ability to care about the collective comfort of women in the stalls. It also seems that the more heavily the public bathroom is used (for example, in malls and in bus stations), the more we are exposed to a decline in those collective efforts to make a bathroom visit comfortable for all.

Reclaiming Our Places of Respite and Relief

Let us return to the basics of cleanliness as we band together in making our public bathrooms places of comfort and relief. The next time you go for a "Meeting in the Ladies Room,"

  • Pick up, wipe up, and tidy after yourself before leaving the bathroom (and PLEASE wash and dry your hands; keep hand sanitizers or wipes in your purse or pocket at all times for your convenient use).
  • Talk to your daughters about proper hygiene in general and how to use a bathroom safely, with emphasis on making it better for the person who comes into the stall after them.
  • Lastly, try to make the women's public bathroom as reflective as possible of the self-respect and dignity we possess as women, making us proud to allegedly be, the neater of the two sexes.

FLASHBACK: Women Behaving Badly in the Ladies Room

© 2013 Janis Leslie Evans

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    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      One always thinks of men's bathrooms in this sense, but it is true for the women too. One would think all of this need not be said to grown women, but obviously there is a need. Don't believe this topic has been covered before that I know of.

      Voted up ++

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi Faith, appreciate the visit and comments. There are a few out there but approached from a different perspective. This has been a pet peeve of mine forever so I wanted to address it from my point of view as it relates to how our behaviors contrast with our female personas. Thanks so much for the votes.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Women can be pigs and I have seen first hand how much so. I have had the unique privilege of cleaning both men and women’s bathroom stalls after a fundraising field day event in my hometown for several years. Obviously, it is not a task I look forward to but it comes with belonging to a volunteer organization. The first year that I had this chore, I figured that I better get the men's room out of the way first, seeing that it would be worse...I was wrong! Every year for about 15 field days, the WOMEN, by far take the cake for dirtier restrooms! I will not go into details but there are products and toilet paper, mostly used, all over the floors, plugged toilets and bodily fluids on seats. These same women that behave like vikings while going to the bathroom will finish their trip in front of the mirror, making sure that they have an acceptable appearance for the public. Argh, are you kidding me. We like to come off as the cleaner of the sexes, but I'm not so sure.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Cantuhearmescream. You have proven my point and have given this hub validity. I appreciate your comments and thank you for stopping by to read this hub. You are a real trooper with your volunteer work.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      What's even worse is that I am speaking about "field days"; a place where there is alcohol, so some may use that as their excuse. What about public restrooms like Wal-mart? It's pretty sad when I have to fear needing the bathroom and usually hold my breath and "hover" while I'm in there.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Oh Jan, this is something that makes me shudder. I can't tell you how many times I have been into one of those stalls, and immediately walked out again, preferring not to go, rather than use something so disgusting. I simply don't know how women can behave so badly. That is the time when I really resent the fact that my anatomy demands that I sit instead of standing like a man. Hope your Hub will cause the guilty ones to shape up. Voted up

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi Vicki, sounds like this hub hit a nerve for you. I know exactly how you feel. Thank you for stopping by and for your vote up.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Just awful, no excuse.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      You nailed it with this one. In a restroom you really expect clean, clean, clean. As a matter of fact if I recently dined a nationally known, high end restaurant. The restroom was NOT clean. If I use the restroom and it is not clean, it speaks volumes to me. It makes me wonder how clean the kitchen is...I spoke with the manager and have gone back. It has always been clean since that day.

      I do not get it...what I find it public RR. Unflushed toilets is only the tip of the iceberg. Nasty. And I will not go into detail . Hopefully you are not just preaching to the choir with this one...hopefully some who have not made an effort to be clean will do so after reading this. Thanks.

      Sending you many Angels this morning :) ps

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks pstraubie48, so glad you like this one. Great activism about getting that restroom cleaned up. I hope, too, that others who need to read this will find it . . . . on Google :-) I appreciate your visit and the blessings.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      I once got a horrible gig as a job coach that involved janitorial work. The work involved many state offices that involved seeing the poorest and most destitute of people. Despite homeless people taking showers in the sinks. I never saw the nastiness of what I see daily in public bathrooms at most stores I visit or work at. It puzzles me as I please customers, some rude and extremely arrogant daily. Yet these are the people who can not flush a toilet and even defecate in places you can not imagine. Everyone hates public rest rooms but we hate them most for these reasons. Even odder is that most of us generally take care of our business at home but I think a lot of people enjoy shopping and pooping for some reason, yuck.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Interesting observations, sanxuary. Thank you for sharing and confirming that it's the everyday people among us that engage in these behaviors.

    • Breatheeasy3 profile image

      Breatheeasy3 4 years ago from USA

      Let me take a moment to say......lmboooooooo!!!! Excuse me, but this issue is so serious that my affect must be laughter. I've worked at facilities where there were women restrooms, that I had to personally clean, and whooo-weee! Yes! I have seen many indiscretions. Enough to where I was actually the one feeling the embarrassment.

      In any event, this hub is very useful and encouraging for women to get right back to the basics. Hope it resonates.

      P.S. Excuse me if I may be coming off too harshly here in the comments. Hope I'm not offending anyone. Just speaking my mind on something I think is critical and crucial.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Not at all, Breatheeasy3, pleeeeease feel free to speak your mind when you comment. I'm glad that you can "relate" on another level of experience and see that it is a crucial issue. Thanks you for stopping by.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      janshares, what an original hub. This is a great piece. Coming from a germ-a-phob, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It's really hard for me to touch anything when I go into a public restroom because of all the germs, and unsanitary practices. I'm glad someone wrote an article about it.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      You're welcome, Careermommy. I'm glad you liked this one and found it original. This has been a pet-peeve of mine forever; I was determined to write about it. Thank you for the visit and comments.

    • Nose-in-the-News profile image

      Nose-in-the-News 4 years ago

      Have you also noticed how some vain women hog the bathroom mirrors? Some of us need to wash our hands and get out of there! We'll deal with lippy re-applications later.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      LOL, that's funny, Nose-in-the-News. You're right. Thanks for reading my hub. I appreciate the visit.

    • bydojo profile image

      Ramona Jar 4 years ago from Romania

      The idea is a bit disturbing, but you are so RIGHT: many women act as if they were some animals, not the sweet and beautiful 'creatures' they claim to be. I have traveled a lot and thus had the 'pleasure' of seeing many toilets (and use them). Some were so unsanitary it was shocking. And, while I can understand there's no luxury in some of them, when you see discarded tampons and step into pee, you realize how 'clean' some of the women who used the toilet are :D

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Yes, bydojo, disturbing that I was driven to write about it and shocking that it's all true. I appreciate your sharing and giving this hub validity. It is a dirty secret that we as women don't talk about openly. Thank you for your visits and comments.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      Hello janshares, I am sometimes so embarrassed to be a woman, when I walk into the public toilets when they have been misused and there is the poor cleaning lady with her nose in "ladies' thoughtless mess". I use paper or my elbow to open the doors once I've washed my hands, as I've watched too many 'ladies' just walking out after pushing their hair around a bit.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      It is a yucky venture, isn't it? Thank you, CyberShelley, for reading this one.

    • tarkishat profile image

      tarkishat 3 years ago

      I'm sure someone else has mentioned this but I must say it too. Why are these grown women walking out of the bathroom without washing their hands. I worked at a casino for many years and this was quite the norm there. I'm talking about cocktail waitresses, bartenders, dealers, security guards and yes cooks. It's disgusting to know that these are the people who we trust without even thinking about it. We trust them to provide us with a service in which we have to come in contact with their nastiness, not knowing that this fool couldn't even take the time out to wash their hands. Gonna give somebody hepatitis with that nasty mess. Keep your hand sanitizer ready and keep your purse filled with wipes.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Well said. Thanks for stopping by and reading this hub.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 3 years ago from East Coast

      It's a shock to many that girls and women do these sorts of things and leave it for someone else to deal with. Ladies of all ages need to act as such regardless if janitors or maids are available. When you need to go and find these things especially in a restaurant, you may lose your appetite or start heaving. Sadly this is true, gross and very easily seen at many public places and businesses.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, Express10, for sharing your observations. It is truly sad. I appreciate your reading and commenting.

    • LCDWriter profile image

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      All so true. I hate having to use a nasty bathroom but sometimes we are left with no choice!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Yes, when we gotta to go . . . :-) Thanks so much for the visit and comment, LCDWriter.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I thought US public restroom are clean. LOL! I guess no matter which country you live in , all public restroom are dirty because people are selfish. They don't do those dirty stuff when they are at home, do they? I think singapore has the cleanest restroom that I had ever visited. Sensor tap water, sensor toilet seat and the cleaner is always there.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Very interesting, thanks for sharing, peachpurple. It is a surprise how dirty they are in the US. Thank you for reading this hub.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 3 years ago from The City of Generals

      Jan. I am your avid follower here. Thanks to those who care but it can be daunting for "so many women" who are inconsiderate. I wish there's a sensor that senses smell and dirt inside cubicles to lock those girls in until the area is cleaned up, lol. Discipline and manners begin at home-- it's a BIG challenge to mothers, I should say. Votes up and sharing:=) Thanks, Jan.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks for those comments, Tonipet. So glad you're enthused about my hubs. Yes, a sensor to lock'em in would be great. I really appreciate your reading, voting, and sharing this hub.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 3 years ago from Minnesota

      So true. These are great rules of thumb.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks, Nicole S, glad you liked it. Thanks for the visit.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You are so right I recently attended a family function and the ladies toilets were left in a terrible state, I couldn't believe the mess made in a women's toilet.

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      It is unbelievable and disgusting, so much so I had to do this hub about it. Thanks for reading it.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

      Well, well, very interesting. You must have a lot of class. I tip my hat to you. Perfect (Midnight Star) music selection too. Thumbs up!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      I appreciate that, word55. Thank you so much for stopping by to read it. Glad you liked it.

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 3 years ago

      Leaving "waste" on the toilet seat is my biggest peeve. If you can't aim, clean up after yourself. I think women's rooms are the nasty place on the planet!!

      Thanks for offering an etiquette lesson to the unwashed and their unwashed seaties. Thumbs up and useful!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      It drives me absolutely crazy, too, Solaras. I don't get it. I agree that women's restrooms are the worst. Thank you so much for visiting and reading this hub. I appreciate the votes.

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 2 years ago from chichester

      I have to say I have never understood why people think it is okay to come into a public restroom and make the mess they do. At the end of the day someone has to clean it and I genuinely think it is disrespectful to leave the toilets, sinks and floors in such a nasty state. Great hub!

    • janshares profile image
      Author

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for reading my "soapbox hub," tazzy. This issue has bothered me so much that I had to write about it. I wish I could put copies in every public restroom stall. It is very frustrating.

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