Bathrooms around the World: Get Ready to Follow These Rules in Restrooms

Jul.12.2021

When it comes to travel, the first thing you are looking for is a new culture, language, interesting food, and new people. But wherever you go, you may face one little trouble that few people think about before the upcoming trip – restroom etiquette. Why can there be problems with the restroom? Because without reading these rules in advance, you may be caught off guard or be forced to pay for plumbing repairs. No matter how funny it may sound, but often the first problem of a tourist arriving is the question of how to use the lavatory correctly. 

You must be prepared for the fact that not everywhere you will find a bathroom in its typical representation for you, that it is not always possible to just flush the used paper down the toilet, somewhere it may not exist at all, and in some places you even have to pay for using the bathroom. To save you from such unexpected and unpleasant situations, today we will tell you about bathrooms around the world and what mistakes you should not make.

Restroom Etiquette around the World

Europe

germany wc

In most continental European countries, including France, Sweden, and Germany, you will have to pay a small fee to use public toilets. But do not be alarmed, the cost is small – 1 euro or even less. Therefore, when going for a walk, make sure that you have a little trifle. In some places in Europe you may feel like you don’t have to pay for toilets, but then expect to have to pay for lavatory paper or leave tips for the staff. Sometimes you may notice large bills in a jar with tips. This is done on purpose to confuse tourists. It will be enough to leave from 0.5 to 1 dollar. But it’s better to think about it in advance and use the local currency.

The fact of a paid public closet can be annoying for many travelers, but that money goes towards stocking up on restroom paper and soap and keeping these toilets clean.

Toilet paper is readily available in Europe and can even be washed off in some countries. Only this should not be done in a Greek or Egyptian toilet, as the plumbing may simply not be able to cope. Also stick to this rule if you are planning to visit Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, or Montenegro. Throw out the WC paper in the bucket in the stall. In most bathrooms, bidet etiquette is also widespread in addition to toilets. For example, in countries such as Italy and France, you can find bidets almost everywhere. This means that the quantity of paper products in these areas is limited and society chooses water for a safer method of cleaning.

In some places in Europe, you may come across old-fashioned toilets that need to be flushed by pulling on a string. So be prepared for that too.

Japan, China, and South Korea

toilet japan

Japan is known for its high-tech toilets. Japan is a country that doesn’t use toilet paper because there are smart toilets almost everywhere. No matter how funny it may sound, for many tourists, using a public lavatory becomes a quest. You may even need a manual to understand what functions the different buttons perform. For example, there are several options for cleaning (back, front, and even you can adjust the water pressure level), drying, and flushing. There is even a button that you can click to hide obscene sounds. When it comes to toilet culture in Japan, you have to be careful. The point is, if you are staying in a traditional Japanese house, you may be given two sets of slippers. Some for indoor use, others for bathroom use only.

As far as China is concerned, according to toilet paper etiquette, you won’t be able to find it in a public lavatory if you go to less touristy places. This is because the Chinese people are very protective of nature. Therefore, it is best to always carry a pack of napkins with you or buy them at any nearest store. Typically, in many public toilets in China, you will need to squat down. Toilets, ordinary in our view, can sometimes be found in shopping centers, but that’s how lucky. But what you can be sure of is that finding a WC in China will not be a problem for you. There are a lot of them, and they are almost everywhere. Rarely where do you have to look for bushes, and even in the bushes you may have another WC waiting for you.

Compared to other countries, South Korea can be confusing for tourists. You can flush the closet paper here. True, the locals do this quite rarely. The fact is that the sewer pipes were not modernized for this until the 1980s. Although the situation has changed now, the old habits remain. But if you are more accustomed to flushing closet paper down the drain, then you can feel free to flush it here too.

Bathroom Rituals in Muslim Majority Countries

toilet sign in muslim

In such countries, special rules for the use of toilets are observed. As a rule, WC paper is not used here and it is customary to use water. This is considered a ritual act of cleanliness, and after that, hands should be washed immediately. It is believed that the right hand is used for shaking hands and the left for washing. This practice is also common in many countries in Asia, the Far East, and Africa. In India, it is also customary to eat with the right hand and wash with the left.

Australia

In Australia, lavatory culture is quite relaxed and laid-back. Fun Fact: In Australia, the restroom is not usually called a ‘restroom’ or ‘bathroom’. Australians openly call it the toilet, or in common parlance ‘dunny’. The toilets here also differ in that they have a two-flush system. For example, you can use more or less water depending on your needs.

Where to Throw Toilet Paper in the USA

Often, you may notice a trash can in the bathroom, into which you need to throw not only feminine hygiene items but also used closet paper. While it may seem like flushing the lavatory paper is the accepted recycling method in most countries, it is a controversial issue in the United States. The fact is that in some places the sewer system can easily become blocked, and this is often indicated by signs in the restrooms. If you are in doubt about what to do, then carefully examine the room or booth. If you don’t find similar signs and a trash can, then you can safely wash off the restroom paper.

Find Out in Advance What the Name of the Bathroom Is in Different Countries

bathrooms etiquette

It is important to pay attention to this if you want to be understood correctly and do not want to cause a lot of squinting glances in your direction. For example, in the USA, it is customary to call it ‘bathroom’ or ‘restroom’ because the closet is a dirty word. You do not need to memorize all the names if you travel often, tourists are often forgiven for such oversights. But it’s better to play it safe and be prepared. If you are in countries such as Germany, France, or the Netherlands you can safely call it a “water closet” or a “toilette”. In Australia, it is “dunny”. In the UK it is called “loo”, but in Japan, it is called “ben-jo”.

As you can see, restroom etiquette varies from country to country. When traveling to different places, this must be remembered. Toilets in their usual view for us are not the norm in other countries. An interesting fact, according to World Toilet, is that sitting on the porcelain throne is unfamiliar to 15% of the world’s population, as they walk through fields, forests, or other accessible spaces. Thus, knowing what to expect when arriving in a new place will greatly help you quickly navigate upon arrival.

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