When a friend was posting an article about a proposed shared wall of stalls between the men's and women's sides where the doors only opened from one side at a time to provide load-sharing (yes, he pointed out his pun), I trotted out what I "knew" as fact, that women's bathrooms are less clean than men's rooms everywhere but bars. Then, I found myself questioning whether I was just perpetuating the myth. There were a lot of personal anecdotes, but little hard data.
Now, I know five out of six toilets being clogged is rather high. Personally, I haven’t come across a number like that in any public toilet I’ve been to. So it got me thinking: are women’s public restrooms more inclined to be stinky, clogged, and all-around dirtier than men’s? Yes.
Here is the general list of reasons why they’re dirtier:
Who has the cleanest restrooms: men or women? The ultimate judges should be the people responsible for cleaning them up.
It is believed that women are naturally tidier than men but one look into the women’s restroom will change that belief.
“The women’s restrooms are a lot dirtier because of the feminine products and they just throw everything on the floor,” said facilities worker Desiree Ramirez.
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.
"I didn't expect women's restrooms to be so much higher in bacteria than men's," Kennedy said.
Besides so much of the evidence being anecdotal, I also find myself a bit skeptical about how the more scientific studies rely on a general "bacteria count", a measure which is often deceptive of the actual risk. Is there any evidence that one side has it worse than the other in terms of restroom cleanliness?