Woohoo! Today I didn’t learn anything except that I was right all along about… Bathrooms! Yep that’s right… This may seem totally off on a tangent but bear with me hear and you too could learn something today! With any luck you’ll have been right all along too!
So I was just watching Mythbusters and this new episode in season 14 really caught my interest!
Down and Dirty/Earthquake Survival (Season 14 – Episode 3) was full of bathroom myths, and the one that caught my attention was related to the most used and dirtiest bathroom stalls in public restrooms. The myth postulates that because people think the first stall closest to the door is the dirtiest, they avoid it, or because of privacy reasons people will be more likely to choose the stall furthest from the door. They tested their hypothesis at a public restroom using ingenious door counters on the stalls. They tested for “dirtiness” by thoroughly cleaning the bathroom beforehand and then hilariously swabbing the toilets afterward.
So needless to say I paused the show and turned to my partner of 6 years and said, “this is a really important episode for me. I always do the same thing in public restrooms probably because I assume everyone thinks like me.”
“Oh yeah?,” He said, “what do you do?”
“Well I walked in there once a long time ago and thought, ‘I don’t want to use the first one, everyone uses the first one, so I’ll go in the second one, it’s probably the cleanest.’ Only right after I had that thought I had another one, ‘Oh but if you think that, so do other people! Everyone probably actually uses the second one!’ And ever since then I’ve always used the first stall, privacy or no. I believed it was the cleanest.”
And since you’ve probably guessed since the title of my post was “I was right all along” that I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG! but…
The results of the Mythbusters study was that not only was the first stall closest to the door the least used, but it was by far the cleanest. The 2nd stall was the most used and the second dirtiest, the third was the next most used and the dirtiest, and the last one was the second least used and second cleanest.
So to sum it up for you, your best bet is using stall number 1 (closest to the door) or stall number 4 (or the last stall) in a 4-stall restroom! Probably don’t use the second stall!
Mythbusters data was as follows:
Stall 1 – 23 users – 168 colonies bacteria
Stall 2 – 38 users – 267 colonies bacteria
Stall 3 – 34 users – 290 colonies bacteria
Stall 4 – 24 users – 231 colonies bacteria