Are You Guilty of Bad Bathroom Manners?

When you gotta go, you gotta go…but that doesn’t mean you should lose your manners just because nature calls. Check out Modern Manners Guy’s 3 tips for proper bathroom etiquette.

Richie Frieman,
August 5, 2013
Episode #258

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  1. Burn a scented candle. This won't work in the office or in a public bathroom, but a nice-looking scented candle with matches is a great useful accessory for a home bathroom. Just make sure you blow it out.
  2. Spray some cologne. Wherever I go, I always make sure to pack a small bottle of cologne in my bag. This can come in handy when you use a bathroom and don't want to leave it smelling foul. Two quick sprays can cover up any embarrassing odors. 
  3. The “Mercy Flush.”  The mercy flush is a pre-flush, a conscientious flush done before you have completed your business to send any bad odors away. When no scented candles or cologne are around, the mercy flush is a go-to and works very well to minimize smells. You can even do it twice if needed.

Tip #2: Listen to Your Body…and Make No Excuses

The way I see it, the bathroom is fair ground for whatever may occur behind closed doors. We are all animals, after all.

I’m guilty of having done this too, but it only takes one close call to realize you can’t spoil yourself with food or drink that may cause an emergency dash to the bathroom, especially when you know none will be around.  You never want to inconvenience yourself just because that meal before a big meeting was too good to resist.However, what we put into our bodies does affect what happens in the bathroom and it's important to be conscientious of that. For example, I have a friend who is often caught in compromising bathroom situations, like on a train, a bus, in a car, or in a meeting. And every time he is caught in this embarrassing position he always gets mad at himself for what he ate and drank before the travel or meeting. We all do this…but why? We are adults and we know which foods or drinks affect our body adversely, so why not just listen to our body when we know we’ll be in an inconvenient setting soon after? I mean, you wouldn’t down a half dozen tacos before running a 5K, would you? That’s not proper carb loading, folks.

You never want to inconvenience yourself just because that meal before a big meeting was too good to resist.

You have make a pact with your body. Kind of like that quote by Homer Simpson, “Alright Brain, you don't like me, and I don't like you. But lets just do this, and I can get back to killing you with beer.” Now, I don’t think we should all go nuts like Homer does with beer, but the mature and proper thing to do is push aside the foods and drinks which you know will upset your stomach if you have something important right after where time – and a convenient bathroom - is not on your side.  If you really have to have that drink or food, make your body a promise, like Homer did, to enjoy when you know you can handle it.

Tip #3: Clean Up!

Gosh, what messes happen in bathrooms sometimes!  I thought it was just the men’s bathrooms that look like a rodeo just came through, but apparently the ladies witness similar disgustingness. In fact, the women in my office have often asked me to reveal the foul habits of women’s bathrooms – which surprised me - so I’ll take care of that here.

Whether it’s a public, office, or home bathroom, nothing drives me nuts more than someone who doesn’t clean up after themselves. Toward the end of the day, the office bathroom floor looks like someone was doing target practice.  In public restrooms, people seem to forget that paper towels are meant for the trashcan, not the floor. And when someone comes to your home and doesn’t clean up after themselves, it makes me livid! I would never – not matter how bad I had to go – treat a bathroom like a '70s rocker trashing a hotel room.

Look, I know bathrooms are not pretty, they're not a place you want to spend loads of time in, or care to clean up other’s messes. I’m with you on every front. But it’s like taking care of our environment; if we all do our small part to help out, it can make a world of difference.  Call this a bathroom etiquette revolution! 

I want you to stand up and shout that you’re not going to take it anymore! No more trash, no more soaked floors, and good gosh people, flush the toilet! If we all started being just a bit more aware and bit more respectful with bathrooms, they would be a happier place for everyone. 

And one last thing…WASH YOUR HANDS PEOPLE! Yes, some people still “forget” this step. Ugh.

Do you have a great story about improper bathroom etiquette?  Post all the details in the comment section below. As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

And if you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. It's available for pre-order now!

Bathroom image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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