I’ve gone into a lot of public restrooms in my life, but it wasn’t until I spent thirty days travelling around the country that I noticed one thing interesting about them. No, I’m not going to write about toilets, or how messy some people can be. Both can be very disgusting. Something a little different, like the door handle.
Have you ever noticed the door handle to the restroom? Sometimes the door will open into the restroom, and sometimes the other way around. It wasn’t really all that noticable until I was more concious of germs in an attempt to avoid getting sick in the middle of a very grueling journey.
I guess I am obsessive over the little things, but my problem solving skills came up whenever I had to pull the door open when exiting the restroom. You see, my hands are “dirty” coming into the restroom, so I’ll touch the handle, pull the door open, and evenutally wash my hands (with soap) of any germs that the door handle is harboring. But when I wash my hands and proceed to the exit, I have to touch the handle, pull the door open, and have no way to ditch the germs at the door. A paper towel can solve this, but is a waste of a precious resource.
My solution to this is that the inside handle of the door should not be a handle. Instead, a metal plate to push the door open will let me use my arm, shoulder, or body to push the door open. On the outside of the door, a handle is fine, as I can wash my hands as everyone should. Yes, the metal plate still has germs, but I’m not forced to touch it with my hands!
Some restrooms I found have done this right. Others have it reversed for some reason I don’t know. Maybe the installer was confused, or the instructions were for the southern hemisphere where the toliet flushes the other direction (I’ve never seen that happen). It shouldn’t be that hard to fix.
Isn’t there also a rule that the door of public exits should push outward in the event there is a stampede. This way no one becomes trapped trying to get out in an emergency. Instead, restroom doors will trap you should you find yourself in an unlikely crowd running out of the restroom.
And since I was at a number of airports during the month, I should mention many did not have doors at all. The doorway consisted of a oval (viewed from above) with a privacy wall in the middle that you walk around that blocks a direct line of sight. That worked well.