Friday, November 20, 2009

I Hate Public Restrooms

Having kids who are potty trained is great. No more expensive diapers. No more picking up your totally cute kid and being grossed out because they smell disgusting. Yes, having kids who wear big-kid undies is great. The only time when having potty trained toddlers/pre-schoolers is not great is when you have to go to a public place. Kids always have to pee (i.e. want to check out the bathroom) when they are somewhere that is not home. So, wherever you go in public, you will have to go to the restroom and invariably that restroom will be gross. And you will be the crazy person repeating "Don't touch that. Don't touch anything. Everything has germs. Don't touch that shiny, silver container on the wall. Don't put up the seat, wait for me to do it with a wad of toilet paper. Don't... don't.... don't. DON'T FLUSH THE TOILET WITH YOUR HAND! Seriously? That's why God gave us feet!"

I'm not sure of why most public restrooms have to be so disgusting. I worked for years at a restaurant where the facilities had to be cleaned every shift. Sure, maybe they weren't as clean as your home bathroom after a thorough scrubbing and disinfecting, but they were pretty darn clean. I have only been in maybe one or two other public restrooms that were that clean. Most public restrooms, especially the ones in grocery stores, seem to have been there (without being cleaned) since before the store was even built. Everything is dark and dirty and dingy and looks like the one attempt they have ever made at cleaning it was abandoned half-way through.

I realize this is probably over-sharing, but I have always hated public restrooms. I always 'hover' instead of sitting right on the seat. I turn the faucet with my wrist and I open the door with a paper towel on my way out. Just knowing that so few people wash their hands grosses me out and makes me want to don a hazmat suit just to enter public facilities. Before I had kids I would even 'hold it' until I got home if possible, just to avoid having to risk a public restroom. Sadly that is no longer possible since when a kid says they have to go, you'd better take them or you will likely end up spending your evening wrestling the padding off their car seat so it can be washed and the frame scrubbed down.

I know that I should be glad that we now have indoor plumbing and we don't have to duck into the bushes or use an outhouse, but really? Is it really too much to ask that places with public restrooms invest in someone who actually knows how to clean and the proper cleaning supplies that person needs? Gross. Now I have completely grossed myself out writing about this and I don't want to go anywhere with my kids until they learn to hold it.


  1. I love this. I read it earlier today and thought about it while I was squatting in an IKEA stall. The IKEA restrooms were quite nice, actually, but then I stopped by Wal-Mart and experienced exactly what you're talking about in this post. You know what grosses me out the most? When there are clumps of yellow stained toilet paper bunched up in a toilet. All of the toilets in Wal-Mart were like that today. They sell toilet cleaning supplies; there's no excuse for their restrooms to look (and smell) dirty.

  2. I think IKEA is one of the few places that does have clean public restrooms. Wal-mart.... never. They built a brand new one near where I work and by the second day the bathrooms were already gross. Ew.