There’s a Whole Other World You Can’t See in the Bathroom

by Kristie LeVangie

Today as the woman in front of me left the facilities without washing her hands, I began to ponder bathroom etiquette…or lack thereof.

Check out these little tidbits of bathroom info that will surely educate and entertain your friends during cocktail hour.

  • Two Arizona researchers, Denise Kennedy and Chuck Gerba, found that while men’s restrooms smell worse and contain more litter than women’s restrooms, women’s restrooms actually contain more fecal bacteria than men’s. Fecal bacteria, found in the intestinal tract, are an indicator of the potential presence of other disease -causing organisms that shed from the intestinal tract.  Kennedy discovered a two-to-one ratio between the bacteria in women’s and men’s bathrooms, which means there are more bacteria in women’s bathrooms to cause sickness. (
  • Your purse could be making you sick.  Women rarely go anywhere without a purse, which means that if a woman enters a place full of germs, so does her bag. That could mean she ends up carrying around microbes that could make her sick all day long. Each time ABC News and Microbiologist Chuck Gerba ran an instant field test and later a lab test on swabs from the outside bottom of 10 women’s purses, every single one had at least some bacteria, most had tens of thousands and a few were saturated with millions. One even had 6.7 million bacteria. Half of the bags tested positive for coliform bacteria, which indicated the possible presence of human or animal waste. (
  • This same microbiologist found that your cell phone is dirtier than a toilet seat. (
  • According to iGR, women are 8% more likely to make a phone call from the bathroom and 5% more likely to send a text message from the bathroom. 42% of Americans have sent a text message from the bathroom.(
  • We go for the middle stall. Nicholas Christenfeld, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, found that 60 percent of the used-up rolls of toilet paper came from the middle stalls, suggesting our favorite choice is dead center. (
  • People in Atlanta top the nation in taking their sweet time in the bath, with 62 percent staying 30 minutes or more, and 28 percent spending more than an hour. Seattle comes in second, with 60 percent taking more than 30 minutes. Go-go Miami is even faster, with 53 percent spending fewer than 30 minutes and 22 percent most likely using the phone, while efficient Minneapolis has 49 percent who claim to use the bathroom less than a half hour each day. (
  • According to a study by Harris Interactive who interviewed 2000 adults, men’s greatest bathroom pet peeves with women are: toiletries and cosmetics scattered around the room (20 percent of respondents). Men were also annoyed by leftover toothpaste in the sink (20 percent), spots left on the mirror (20 percent) and dirty clothes left on the floor.  Women’s greatest pet peeves with men?  Twenty-eight percent said it’s when men leave the toilet seat up. The same number said it is when men leave toothpaste in the sink. Twenty-seven percent said they don’t like finding spots on the mirror and 22 percent do not like finding clothes on the bathroom floor. (
  • In another Harris Interactive study of hand washing habits for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), 6,336 people who used the public bathrooms at six public attractions in four major cities were interviewed and found that when asked, 96% of men said they always washed their hands after using public restrooms, but just 75% were seen doing so.  83% said they washed their hands after using the bathroom at home. (
  • According to, the average size of a bathroom is 9ft by 11ft.  (

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