Friday, January 27, 2023

Why Doors in Public Toilets DO NOT Reach the Floor?

How do you feel about public restrooms? Dread? But have you ever wondered why toilet stall doors rarely reach all the way to the floor? Well, it turns out that there’s not one, but several fully valid reasons for not enclosing bathroom stalls!

Some of them are obvious, while others are quite unexpected… Ready to take the plunge? Here we go:

Don’t you have time to watch the full video?

00:29  —  There are emergencies when every minute counts
01:00  —  It prevents unnecessary lines
01:33  —  It isn’t so easy to get rid of the smells inside
01:57  —  Enclosed bathroom stalls are cheaper
02:37  —  It discourages inappropriate behavior
03:16  —  You can always get out
03:31  —  You can ask your neighbor to give you toilet paper
04:05  —  It speeds up the traffic
04:31  —  It makes bathrooms easier to clean
05:17  —  BONUS: Why do most bathroom entry doors open inwards?


    If a person loses consciousness or has some other urgent medical condition in a fully enclosed stall, it could take hours until someone notices it. And as you know, there are emergencies when every minute counts. On the other hand, if there’s a gap between the floor and the door of a bathroom stall, other visitors will immediately notice a person who’s passed out… On top of that, in this case, there’s no need to break down the door since a medical worker can slip under it through the gap and unlock it from the inside.
    Space below the stall door helps visitors to see that there’s someone inside and prevents people from barging in on another person. You know how it works: you see someone’s feet inside the stall – you look for another, unoccupied toilet or you wait your turn. Besides, when public bathroom doors don’t reach the floor, it prevents unnecessary lines. People can calculate how much time they’ll need to spend on waiting for an unoccupied stall and decide whether they’re ready to wait or they’d rather look for another public restroom.

    Fully enclosed stalls are more likely to provide you with an unforgettable gag-inducing experience since it isn’t so easy to get rid of the smells inside. Open stalls, on the contrary, have much better ventilation, which is essential when it comes to public bathroom stalls. Thanks to air circulation, bad smells dissipate faster – but still not fast enough for me.
    A bit more obvious, and probably one of the most common reasons, is that not fully enclosed bathroom stalls are cheaper! First, to produce a door in such a stall, less material is needed. Therefore, it costs less to make, buy, and install this door, which is one of the most crucial things for a business owner… In addition, simple stall divisions are way easier – they don’t depend on the height of the ceiling or the evenness of the floor. But if you decide to order floor-to-ceiling stalls, it’ll require much more effort, such as custom fitting and precise cutting. For many businesses, all this trouble doesn’t make any financial sense.

    Leaving a gap under a bathroom stall door discourages all kinds of inappropriate behavior. Psychologically, the less protected and enclosed a person feels, the less likely they are to do something harmful and risky. And if a public toilet stall reaches all the way to the floor, it allows people to feel like they’re in private. As a result, they won’t hesitate to, let’s say, draw graffiti or damage the stall in any other way… Also, with a gap under the door, other visitors will notice somebody who’s causing trouble and stop this activity right away.
    It’s next to impossible to get out of a fully enclosed bathroom stall on your own once the lock jams. You’d be trapped inside and must call for help… On the contrary, when a toilet has a gap under the door, in case of an emergency, you can easily escape by crawling under it.

    Imagine the nightmarish situation when, after doing your business, you suddenly realize there’s no toilet paper in your stall! Ugh… Unfortunately, if at this moment, you’re in a fully enclosed stall, no one can save you. But if you’ve been lucky enough to experience this tragic problem in a stall with a gap under the door, you can swallow your embarrassment and ask your neighbor to save the day by handing you some paper!
    Fully enclosed stalls give visitors a cozy feeling of isolation. They cut out the noise of heavy bathroom traffic, and as a result, people lose the sense of others who’re waiting for their turn. They get more relaxed and spend longer on taking care of their business. But when a bathroom stall isn’t entirely enclosed, visitors tend to feel more rushed, which speeds up the traffic and gets rid of bathroom lines.

    Last and, probably, the most apparent reason for leaving the gap is that it makes bathrooms easier to clean. A custodian can simply run their mop under the doors instead of wasting time on opening and closing each of them. You can imagine what a time saver it is if a bathroom is large. The same goes for power-cleaning the floor. When there’s open space for water to flow, cleaning becomes faster and more efficient.

BONUS: Why do most bathroom entry doors open INWARDS?
When you enter, you must push the door, and when you leave, you pull it. But wouldn’t it make more sense if it was vice-versa? This way, you wouldn’t have to touch the door handle with your freshly washed hands as you exit! Just push it with your shoulder, and you’re free… But no! Even though it’s not true about all public bathrooms, to exit most of them, you must touch the doorknob. What gives? There are 8 main reasons:

  1. It prevents the door from blocking the hallway… Imagine there’s high bathroom traffic. As a result, if the door was of the “push-to-exit” type, it would take even more space and make people who walk down the hallway crowd at the door.
  2. Next to many public toilets, there are closets, drinking fountains, and other utilities. And a door that opens outward would cause a lot of inconvenience to those who need to use these amenities.
  3. Can you imagine how hard it would be to navigate the hallway if there’s an emergency? Bathroom doors shouldn’t hinder or block movement in case of an evacuation.
  4. Another reason to have “push-to-enter” doors in public bathrooms is safety. These doors have both the lock and hinges on the inside. Therefore, no one can lock you in the bathroom.
  5. Also, doors that open inward help to handle unpleasant smells, which aren’t rare for public bathrooms. The thing is that when you open a door in the bathroom, some fresh outside and non-smelly air gets sucked inside and helps to dissipate the bad smells… As for the doors opening outward, the pattern would be the opposite: the smelly air would be constantly sucked out of the bathroom.
  6. You probably won’t argue that when you’re in the bathroom, you want some privacy. But at the same time, a door that swings out from the restroom gives visitors and passers-by a much better, unrestricted view of what’s happening inside the bathroom than with one that opens inward.
  7. A “push-to-enter” door also makes sense if you’re going to the bathroom to wash something off your hands. This way, you can use your shoulder to open the bathroom door, and you don’t have to touch the door handle.
  8. And finally, according to my personal observations, people are usually in a way bigger hurry when they enter the bathroom than when they exit. You never know, maybe those precious seconds saved by a “push-to-enter” door will prevent some poor soul from having several extremely unpleasant moments! If you know what I mean…


- Advertisment -