We’ve all got at least one in the house, and we all use it several times a day. But it’s probably the room we think least about, mainly because we see it as a purely functional space. But bathroom suites and the space they occupy don’t have to be boring. Amaze your friends and family, or get them wondering why you suddenly known lots of randoms facts about toilets, with these unusual, interesting and downright weird facts about the smallest room in your home.
1. Many Famous People Have Died in the Bathroom
Everyone knows that Elvis famously died in the bathroom in 1977 of many different medical conditions which were felt to be related to drug misuse. 200 years earlier in 1760 King George II of Great Britain also died in the bathroom, although in those days it was known as a “close stool”. Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel bathroom too, and who can forget Moaning Myrtle, the bathroom-haunting spook in the Harry Potter movies?
2. We Visit the Bathroom More Often Than You Think
On average, we use toilets between six and eight times every day. That means that every year, we make an average of 2,500 trips to the loo. Over the course of the average lifetime, we spend as much as up to three years in the bathroom. If you’re one of the people who retreat into the loo with a book, or even a phone as I mention further down, it could be considerably longer.
3. How You Hang Your Loo Roll is a Matter for Academic Study
Researchers in the United States spent over $10,000 researching whether toilet paper should be hung with the loose end hanging at the front or the back. The cutting edge study found that only 25% of people have the flap hanging to the back of the roll.
This debate happens so much that Wikipedia even has an entire detailed page on the topic that has an incredible amount of references. There’s also an excellent article on the topic called ‘Essential Life Lesson #1: Over is Right, Under is Wrong‘.
4. 75% Of Us Use Phones on the Loo
In a survey of the readers of the Digital Spy website, 75% admitted to regularly using their phones while on the loo. It’s therefore probably not surprising that half of all claims for water damage to smartphones come from dropping their handset into the toilet. Thankfully you can sometimes fix a phone that’s been dropped in the toilet, as we explain in our guide.
5. South Korea Has a Museum Dedicated to the Toilet
The unusually named Mr Toilet House opened in 2012 in Suwon, South Korea and is a museum dedicated to everything toilet-related. The museum is housed in a building which looks like a loo seat from the air and was once the home of Sim Jae-duck, the founder of the World Toilet Association. South Korea is not alone; there are also toilet-related museums in New Delhi, Kiev and Alamo Heights in the USA. We wrote about the New Delhi Toilet Museum back in 2013.
Special mention also goes to The Plumbing Museum in Watertown, Massachusetts.
6. The World’s Largest Public Loo is in China
A public toilet facility in Chongqing, south-west China, was opened to the public in 2007 and is the world’s largest. The building contains over 1,000 separate toilets and covers an area equivalent to the size of half a football pitch.
Japan has also claimed the title to world’s largest loo too, but, in this case, it’s a single toilet surrounded by more than 2,150 square feet of gardens.
7. Some Public Toilets are Cleaner than Others
Research has shown that the average public bathroom is not the cleanest of places, but also that most of us avoid using the first cubicle in the row. If you are worried about germs while using a public loo, it, therefore, makes sense to opt for the first one you come to.
You’d think that the toilet seat in a public bathroom is the most disgusting thing in the world, but the disgusting truth is that a toilet seat actually has fewer bacteria than your mobile phone. In fact, your phone is dirtier than the 5 objects in the video below.
8. Air-Fresheners in Bathrooms are Nothing New
Manufacturers of air-freshening products would have you believe that their products are new and innovative. However, we’ve been using air freshening and deodorising products since the time that we moved on from using a pit in the ground for a loo. The very earliest air fresheners were made from pomegranates and cloves while the first modern air freshener was introduced in 1948.
9. Thomas Crapper Didn’t Invent the Toilet
It’s often said that the aptly named Thomas Crapper was the man who invented the loo in the Victorian times. This isn’t entirely true. The toilet in its various shapes and sizes had been around for centuries, as seen in our in-depth The History of Toilets, but Mr Crapper was the one who made improvements to the flushing mechanism (such as the use of a ballcock) and popularised the use of the indoor flushing toilet.
So why is that some people call a toilet a ‘crapper’? We explained why in a previous blog post.
10. We’re Not Impressed by French Loos
“Où puis–je trouver des toilettes?”
A 2013 survey of Brits who had travelled to Europe on holiday found that the French have the dirtiest toilets, with most indicating a bad smell as the reason for the uncleanliness. Turkey and Greece also ranked badly for dirty loo’s, but at the other end of the scale, Belgium and Portugal scored high marks for their clean public conveniences.
“A la réflexion, je vais passer.”
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