useless handwashing in public restrooms

Philippines
February 21, 2009 3:10pm CST
after going to the restroom, i wash my hands. but i find it almost useless, especially in public restrooms, because i have to hold the doorknob again. the doorknob contains more germs than your hands already have, so handwashing proves futile if you're going to hold the doorknob as you get out of the bathroom. i try to think of possible solutions to this dilemma, but i'm being too selfish that way. it's better to share this issue with fellow myLotters who are health conscious as well. ^_^ has that issue ever occured to you before? have you ever realized how washing your hands may prove useless IF you hold that dirty doorknob as you go out? makes you think twice before going to a public restroom, doesn't it?
10 people like this
26 responses
@SomeCowgirl (32210)
• United States
21 Feb 09
A lot of public restrooms have doors that do not need to be opened by a door knob and can be opened by a simple push. At least I can say this for American restrooms, I am not sure about restrooms abroad. If one does wash their hands they can either use their elbow to open these doors or kick it or whatever manner they may prefer. If the door knob does need to be twisted one can grab a napkin and open the door, tossing the napkin into a nearby trash can that is either inside the bathroom, outside the bathroom, or in some bathrooms, both.
• Philippines
21 Feb 09
unfortunately, bathrooms in our country usually don't have paper towels. lol ^_^ i used to do that in coffee shops because they usually have good, clean restrooms and are expected to have paper towels. but mall restrooms are usually poorly maintained, with no paper towels in sight... even the act of handwashing can get you more germs, as switching off the faucet will recontaminate your freshly-washed hands. germs, they're everywhere! ^_^
2 people like this
@SomeCowgirl (32210)
• United States
22 Feb 09
Oh I do know that it appears more and more bathrooms have just air ventilation, or air dry hand things, even those you have to touch.
• Philippines
22 Feb 09
that's true. ^_^ some restrooms have hand dryers. but when i said there's no tissue here, it's not that it has been replaced by hand dryers. it's that there's simply no more tissue. there's usually no hand dryer OR towels. there's just nothing. sigh... some restrooms have just one "room" where the bowl and the sink are in that same room. so, it's just understandable that the entire room has to be locked when in use. these one-toilet restrooms are even trickier as push-open doors will definitely not provide a lock...
@cynthiann (18603)
• Jamaica
21 Feb 09
Many people are aware of this fact and what they do is to use a paper towel to pull open the door. They do not touch the door with their hands. I have also seen parents putting out food on the tray of a fast food place and these trays can be mega carriers of germs too. We have to have wipes or anti bacterial lotion with us at all times.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
21 Feb 09
unfortunately, as i've discussed with other responders, paper towels in public restrooms are a rare sight in my country. lol ^_^ yes, germs are just everywhere, aren't they? even the mere act of handwashing in a public restroom may get you germs. as you turn off the faucet, you are getting your hands recontaminated...
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Feb 09
Hey, doc, I am following you around, lol
1 person likes this
• Philippines
21 Feb 09
hm, haven't i seen you before? lol ^_^ yes, public restrooms are very tricky in this country. when i'm in a coffee shop, usually the restroom is alright. but mall restrooms are nasty!
1 person likes this
@lynnemg (4533)
• United States
21 Feb 09
Afte washing my hands in a public erstroom, I will hold onto the paper towel that I used to dry m hands and use it to open the door. If there were no paper towels, but a hand dryer, I will pull my hand into my sleeve or use the bottom of my shirt to open the door. If all else fails, carry some hand sanitizer with you and use it as soon as you leave the restroom.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
21 Feb 09
i used to count on the paper towels till i encountered restrooms with no paper towels. hehe. like in mall restrooms. there is also the problem that the faucet handle itself is dirty, so right after you wash when you turn the faucet off, your hands get dirty again... hand sanitizers are a must for me, but that's the thing: if you have to count on the hand sanitizer, then most of the benefits of the handwashing done is futile... hehe. i guess germs are a part of life. ^_^ thanks, lynnemg, for posting!
1 person likes this
• Canada
22 Feb 09
it does make you think. I guess if you take a paper towel with you before you leave and hild the door knob with that it doesn't matter right. There are trash cans located everywhere in a public place so you can throw the paper towel out after you use it to open the door.
1 person likes this
@Mullahz (25)
• Israel
22 Feb 09
I almost never go to a public restroom, personally I go to one in my home before I go out and hold it for the rest of the day. Most public restrooms are disgusting and smell like pee...
• Philippines
22 Feb 09
hi, mullahz! ^_^ i appreciate that you want to avoid dirty restrooms. but if you don't pee when you feel that you should, you'll get urinary tract infection. voiding frequently ensures that bacteria trying to climb up the urethra is flushed out. holding it in may be more of a health risk than using dirty restrooms...
• Israel
22 Feb 09
Maybe it is, but I usually don't hold it much longer than 2-4 hours, isn't a problem for me. You just have to know how to manage your schedule;)
• Philippines
22 Feb 09
hehe ;D time management indeed. ^_^ i drink a lot so i also pee a lot. i have to "go" so many times, especially when drinking coffee. lol. i wish i can hold it as effectively as you do. that would minimize my contact with restroom germs ^_^
@TLChimes (4824)
• United States
21 Feb 09
If you have a paper towel in your hand to dry with, don't throw it out, instead use it to open the door. Hold the door open with your foot while you toss out the used towel. Carry that hand sanitizer stuff and or spray. Use that after opening the door but don't use it on kids with out really watching them because it's poison and has killed before. Wait for some other fool to open the door to come in then duck out really quick. No, I've never thought about this before. I have no idea what you mean. LOL OK maybe once or twice it's come to mind. Best to stay home where I know who's been in the restroom and when it was last cleaned.
• Philippines
21 Feb 09
lol ^_^ you know, i'm a little scared of washing my hands in a public restroom. as you turn the faucet off, your hands will get recontaminated anyway. and the liquid soap in public toilets is usually diluted with too much water that it's not effective for good handwashing. hehe, hope noone gets offended by the "has this crossed your mind" bit. i just find a lot of people in my gang getting shocked when i tell them this story after they've gone to the bathroom lol ^_^
@TLChimes (4824)
• United States
21 Feb 09
The US is getting a lot of restrooms where you don't have to touch the handles at all.... there are none. They are going to automatic things that sense when your hand is under it. And there are self flushing toliets. Now that you have brought it up.... I'm rather glad they have come up with all this new stuff
• Philippines
22 Feb 09
yes, you're lucky! perhaps our country can't afford it yet. after all, they can't even afford to refill the towel paper dispenser... tsk tsk... it's one of those instances where money means health, i guess.
@crigal (105)
• United States
21 Feb 09
That's why you get another paper towel and use that to open the door...then trash the paper towel.
• Philippines
22 Feb 09
the restrooms in our country usually have no paper towels. ^_^ i hate going to public restrooms here for that reason. i end up carrying both tissue and hand sanitizer in my purse. which is why i always carry big purses instead of cute little ones... my american friend was so shocked that all the restrooms here that we've been to have absolutely no paper towels. hehe.
@ank_47 (1960)
• India
27 Feb 09
i didn;t face those problem because ,here in this place where i am living,the rest rooms or public toilets will be too clean and there will be no germs . if i feel anything is not neat, i will handle doornob with tissue paper which i have in my hand bag. or i will take tissue which that bathroom has,and i will wipe my hands first and wipe door nob also . so i don;t feel any discomfort. u should not feel selfish ,u are doing correct,any germs can attack us in public toilets or in public rest rooms. so we be careful when we go that places. keep in u;r hand bag some tissues and use it when u want .
@barehugs (8980)
• Canada
22 Feb 09
As a senior, I just hope I get to the washroom in Time. Who cares about the knob on the door? I'm so happy for the author of this piece, who obviously has options not available to me. I doubt hand washing is useless anyway, and if you are petrified of the germs on the knob, why not use a piece paper towel, and discard it somewhere later, or failing that wash the doorknob first and then your hands. Hey that was easy wasn't it? Damn, I gotta go just from thinking about it!
@suspenseful (40201)
• Canada
22 Feb 09
I always wash my hands and I hate going in washrooms that you have to hold the handle shut. And sometimes they are a bit too far away for my reach. I wonder if the ones who make the public washrooms consider this? After all, there is always the person who pushes the door just as you are sitting down doing number one. That is more of my concern then dirty door knobs. It is the need for me to have privacy when sitting o the toilet.
@mariposaman (2963)
• Canada
22 Feb 09
I read a lot of the responses but did not plow through them all. The correct way of washing your hands is this. Turn on the taps, wash you hands with soap and water carefully, dry your hands with paper towels, turn off the taps with the paper towels, open the door with the paper towels, throw the towels away if there is a container near the door (if you have to keep the door open do so with your foot), if no container just take it with you and dispose of it when you find the first garbage container. Doing it this way you do not re-contaminate your hands by touching the faucet handles and the doorknob which seems always to swing inwards so you have to use the handle. If there is no paper towels, you should actually have a spare in your pocket, you can use your little finger to pull the door open if it is just a swing inward door with no latch. Alternatively carry a small bottle of Purell type cleaner.
• United States
22 Feb 09
What hypochondriacs! Just kiddding, no, I dont sweat it too much although I have used the paper towel method in really grimy restrooms but I have my qualms too. Like I dont like using hand dryers because god knows all the stuff its kicking up into the air and if they keep the filter up to par. Those Excelerators anyone? I also wont use the antibacterial soaps because I believe the body has the best defenses and a little dirt can only help to build up immunity. I think using antibacterials doesnt give your body the fighting chance because there is always new organisms popping up. Take your vitamins, eliminate the synthetics and food additives, drink in moderation and a little dirt on the doorknob cant hurt you.
@timhinyy (1652)
• United States
22 Feb 09
yeah i try to avoid using the public restrooms if at all possible unless i really have to go but i always try to wash my hands after using the bathroom i have a friend who is very germophobic washes his hands all the time before he eats something after using the bathroom dont you get to a point where its overkill why not just have some hand sanitizer with you if you are so worried about it you can only do so much about germs you wash you hands and hopefully thats good enough but if the germs are gonna find you not much you can do about it i would still wash my hands anyway and hope its a push or pull door
@xbrendax (2663)
• United States
22 Feb 09
I always wash my hands after using a public restroom because it just seems the right thing to do also people are watching me and I don't want them to think I am a dirty slob by leaving a stall and just walking out the door, and yes, I touch the door knob, but what I do is after I leave, I use a handy purse size sanitizing hand wipe and keep plenty on hand, cause ya just don't know any more where germs are and what kind!
@coferbox (298)
• United States
22 Feb 09
Like a lot of the other posters have already said I use a paper towel to open the door, I also have kleenex in my purse if there are no paper towels available. Also I have noticed that many public restrooms now have 'elbow hooks' on the back of the doors so you use your arm and not your hand to open the door, which I suppose is a little better than having the germs on your hand. Actually I try to avoid public restrooms as much as I can, but that is not always possible. One thing I have learned if I am at the mall is I will go to the restroom in the more expensive upscale dept stores instead of the ones located out in the mall. They are not as crowded, they seem cleaner and are usually well stocked with all items. I also carry hand sanitizer in my purse that I use after I leave the restroom to kill any germs that the hand washing didn't get or to kill any that I picked up on the way out.
@rakesh284 (1472)
• India
22 Feb 09
Yes It happen with every person who likes to remain clean and cares about it a lot. I sometimes used a tissue paper which over the hand and opened the door in my office. Sometimes we just clean our hands with hanker chief.
@paula27661 (15815)
• Australia
22 Feb 09
Talk about boosting the immune system! I think about all the germs in public restrooms every time I use one. A lot don't even have soap! I don't like using the hand dryers; they take forever. I shake my hands dry open the door and use hand sanitizer afterwards. I have taught my daughter to use it s well especially before eating and she has one is her lunch box. Aside from that I don't know what else to do, germs are everywhere and I don't want to become phobic about them.
@deanna2 (159)
• United States
22 Feb 09
hi and yes i thought that way to and it is true but what i do now is after i wash my hands i use my paper towel to open the door with and then throw it away and i also carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser with me comes in very handy
• United States
22 Feb 09
I too do use the tissue to turn the faucet off. Then I use it to open the door of the bathroom. I also use soap and water on a towel to wash the shopping cart handles. Walmart sells travel sized clorox wipes.