My Problem with Public Toilets in the USA

This is a very niche blog, but I have a problem with toilets in the USA, and there are some unsaid things which I need to explore.

Don’t get me wrong, public toilets in the USA are usually clean and freely available, which is of utmost importance. In fact I would take US toilets over the toilets in many other countries any day, BUT I have a few bug-bears that massively annoy me every time!

One: Gaps in toilet doors

In USA public toilets, there are gaps in the toilet doors. By which I mean, the door has been made about 2cm too small for the door frame. So when you close the door, you can see out, and people can see in. You rely on people’s discretion not to look through the gap at you. It makes me really uncomfortable – I don’t know about you, but for me, using the toilet is a somewhat private experience, and I don’t need spectators. Why do they do this?? (I’m genuinely asking. Is there a reason for this, or are toilet-door manufacturers saving money?)

Two: Self-Flushing Toilets

It is a good idea in principle to have self-flushing toilets. These toilets are not magic – they have a movement sensor in the back which is supposed to detect when you have finished, and flush it for you. In principle. In reality, most of them don’t work. They either flush when you go into the toilet, or (even worse) flush while you are ON the toilet !! This is unsanitary and disgusting and why???  When I go into a toilet in the USA and I see a handle to flush, I breathe a sigh of relief, so I am in control of my own flush. Also acceptable are sensors we have in the UK where you have to wave your hand a few inches in front of it, and it will flush.

Three: Thin Toilet Paper

I know many companies try to save money by using thin toilet paper. This is universal. But seriously. In our last US holiday, we had some of the thinnest toilet paper known to man. It was pretty much air with a little bit of paper inter-weaved. It was practically see-through. And not to get into too much detail, but do they not realise that you need to double / triple / quadruple it up to use this? You can’t wipe your bottom with air. ARGH!!


Ok, that’s me done. Rant over. And overall, I guess cleanliness is more important, so I am very grateful for that. Just don’t look at me and drench me with water while I go to the loo!!

And to end on a funny note, I saw this sign above a toilet in Vancouver – telling us not to drink the flush water. Really??? 🙂

Toilet Sign

Next post: Fuertaventura, Spain

Previous post: Night out in Las Vegas, USA


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