Toilet Guide Home : Asking : Finding : Instructions : Differences : Hygiene : Etiquette : Photos

Standard western toilet
My toilet at home

Toilet hygiene is a serious thing. For the traveller, you try and stay healthy so you can enjoy your trip and get back safe and sound. However for the locals, they face the same problems every day. According to World Vision Australia statistics, 2½ billion people have no clean or private place to go to the toilet. Nearly 40% of the world's population don't have a choice but to use fields, rivers, railway yards, road sides, plastic bags or disease ridden buckets or dirty toilets.

Washing Your Hands

Washing your hands with soap and water anytime after using the toilet is something that is drilled into you as a child, as it is very important for maintaining good hygiene and staying healthy. However, one figure I came across quoted that The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 3 people don't wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Washing up is particularly important in places such as India where they use their hand for washing their behind after going to the bathroom. In the Indian culture, your left hand, which is the one used for toilet functions, is not used socially for touching food. In my experience while traveling in India, it is a handy skill to learn to wash up without using toilet paper, as you will rarely find any available in the toilets you come across. However, at times there will not be any water available to wash up afterwards either!

An almost essential item for travellers is some good liquid gel anti-septic hand cleaner that can clean your hands with no water. You can also take with you some 'wet towelette' or similar products for times you need to clean your hands.

Seat Germs

There are people in world who do have paranoia about toilet seat cleanliness, and sometimes it is justified. Although it was dismissed early on that you can catch AIDS from sitting on a toilet seat, there are still some nasty germs around and some public toilets can be pretty disgusting. It is therefore not surprising that some people avoid public toilets altogether, and while others carry with them a seat protector, lay down a line of toilet paper, or hover gymnastically above the seat to avoid coming in contact with the seat.


Many non-Europeans visiting a European country have been amused and confused when they first came across a bidet. Bidets are also found in many countries elsewhere in the world, and are becoming more popular in the USA too. A bidet looks like a toilet but has warm-water jets for personal hygiene after you use the toilet. Some bidets are equipped with an air-dryer to dry skin afterwards.

Where there is no toilet

If you come across a situation where there is no public convenience, and it is important to find somewhere appropriate to dispose of you waste. While camping it is usually to carry a spade and bury all number twos, and you need to be particularly careful if you are in a water catchment area.


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