Ladies, what stall do you usually go to when visiting a public restroom? If you answered the middle one, you might want to rethink that decision.
Charles Gerba, PhD, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, collected data about germs in public restrooms. His findings suggest that middle stalls in public restrooms have the most bacteria, while the first one is likely the cleanest.
It seems that many of us assume the middle stalls are the least frequently used and therefore opt for those, but because of this wrong assumption, it’s these very stalls that tend to be used the most and collect the most germs. Talk about irony.
Additionally, Gerba insists that the toilet seat is actually the cleanest part of the restroom at large because of all the care we take when using it: We wipe it down, use a paper cover, some of us hover in the air. Because of this, other more inconspicuous areas tend to be dirtier.
A Columbia University study found the floor is the most germ-infested spot. We’re talking strep, staph, E-coli, coliform, rotavirus and the MRSA virus. Door handles might also harbor a slew of germs from those classy ladies who don’t wash their hands.
So the next time you go to a public bathroom follow this checklist:
1) Use the first stall.
2) Don’t put your purse on the floor. Ever.
3) Wash your hands in warm water for at least 30 seconds
4) Use a dry paper towel to turn the door handle when exiting.
If you want to know which public bathrooms in America are considered the most pleasant, check out our Kings of the Commode post.