Public restroom etiquette

As our job here winds down and we anticipate cleaning bathrooms in Florida this winter, I thought I’d pass on some sage advice about public restroom etiquette.  Years ago as a young wife and mother, I went to a series of Christian Homemaker classes led by a woman named Bobbi Hassman.  I will never forget her recruiting us into the Public Restroom Beautification Program.  She said we should always leave a public restroom looking neater than we found it and I have always tried to do that…pick up a paper towel from the floor, wipe off the countertop, etc.  Here are some tips from my experience this summer:

  1. Men and women, don’t hock up phlegm into the sink and leave it there for the cleaner to wipe up.  Either hock it up outside or in the toilet and flush it down.  This is the one thing that really grosses me out.  I am reminded of the movie Ghostbusters where one of the characters says, “I’ve been slimed!”  ‘Nuff said!
  2. Women, for those of you who are still having periods, didn’t they teach you in those classes in school to wrap up your feminine hygiene products?  Don’t leave a bloody mess in the waste basket next to the toilet.  And don’t leave your napkins or pads unwrapped because the part that sticks to your underwear also sticks to the garbage bags.  Save a landfill from all the mostly empty garbage bags having to be thrown out.
  3. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave your bathroom stall after you’ve done a “number two” without making sure it has all gone down.  Have some pride, people!  If you wouldn’t want to open a stall door and see that, neither would anyone else.
  4. If, in the process of pulling toilet paper out of the dispenser, some of it falls on the floor, pick it up and flush it down, even if you have to use more toilet paper to be able to touch it.  Same goes if you happen to have a sweaty toilet and the toilet paper sticks to it.
  5. If you happen to take a shower in a public restroom or use a laundromat, look around you before you leave and be sure you have everything you came in with.  I once found a size 40 DDD bra hanging on the bench outside the office.  It must have dropped and someone put it there so the owner could find it.  You wouldn’t believe all the hair products and clothing people leave behind.  Just take inventory before you leave to be sure you have everything.
  6. Also, if you use a public shower and you happen to have dirt or sand on your feet, be sure to wipe any residue off the shower floor and the floor in the stall outside your shower.
  7. If you brush your teeth or your hair over a public sink, wipe up your toothpaste and remove your hairs from the sink.  While you’re at it, if the soap dispenser leaks on the countertop or you leave water all over the counter, wipe that up too.
  8. Be sure that the toilet stops flushing and that you turn the sink faucet off firmly.  If you find things running or dripping and you can’t get them to stop, report them to someone right away.  In fact, report any problems that you find.
  9. Don’t throw your outside garbage in the bathroom garbage can.  It takes up the room that should be available for bathroom trash.  Usually you can find a place outside to throw your garbage.  And if you are camping, don’t throw your coffee grounds in the restroom garbage.  I have consolidated garbages only to find coffee grounds all over the floor.  What a mess!
  10. Read the signs!  If there is a sign outside the bathroom that indicates it’s closed for cleaning, don’t go in.  If there is a no smoking sign on the door, don’t take a cigarette in.  If the sign on the door says not to flush feminine hygiene products down the toilet, don’t do it.

Here is one thing you can do:  If the bathroom cleaner happens to be working in the restroom while you’re in there, be sure to tell them how much you appreciate what they do. A compliment goes a long way toward brightening the day for the folks who clean up after you!

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