The toilet cubicle you should always use in public loos to avoid infection

Don't use the middle loos, whatever you do

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 11 April 2017 12:33 BST
(Getty Images/Vetta)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Whether in a restaurant or a motorway service station, when you go into a public toilet, which cubicle do you use?

Do you have a strategy, or just go for whichever one you feel like that’s free?

You might think that you’d be limiting your exposure to germs by using the furthest toilet from the door, but you’d be wrong.

It turns out that your best bet is in fact to use the nearest cubicle.

The reason is that contrary to popular belief, the first toilet is actually used the least - by women especially.

“Experts theorise that people tend to skip the first stall in favour of stalls further back to have a little more privacy,” Dr. Mehmet Oz explained on Sharecare.

“But because the first stall is used least often, it contains the lowest bacteria levels.”

He says that rather than skip the first cubicle, we should actually use it if we want to help avoid possible infections.

However if everyone follows his advice the first loo will probably no longer be the best bet.

According to New York Magazine, whilst women are most likely to choose the one furthest away, men actually tend to go to the nearest cubicle or urinal.

But research suggests you should avoid the middle stalls because ‘centrality preference’ means the majority of people use them.

Of course, just because more people use the end loos, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be cleaner, but the chances are they’ll contain less harmful bacteria.

So next time you find yourself in a public loo, save yourself the effort of walking to the end and head to the nearest cubicle.

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