A recent poll of 3,000 public bathrooms by Lavatory Lab delivered a nasty truth when Virginians gave their public restrooms an average score of 4.7 out of 10, the 13th worst in the country. Overall, Americans rated their public bathrooms with “an abysmal” score of 5.2 out of 10.
But why are they so bad, you may ask?
From dingy gas station restrooms to overcrowded airport lavatories, public bathrooms in the United States have a reputation for being, well, pretty terrible.
First and foremost, the issue of cleanliness is a major problem in public restrooms. From dirty toilets to overflowing trash cans, it’s not uncommon to encounter a bathroom that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since the Wild West. And let’s not forget about the infamous “bathroom odor.”
Another issue with public bathrooms is the lack of privacy. When it comes to stalls, there’s often a fine line between “just enough privacy” and “none at all.” Case in point: the ubiquitous gap at the bottom of the stall door that allows everyone in the bathroom to see your shoes.
Of course, the lack of privacy isn’t limited to stalls. Sinks and mirrors are often situated in full view of everyone in the bathroom, meaning that you’re forced to engage in a game of “who can avoid eye contact the longest” while you’re washing your hands. And don’t even think about trying to change a baby’s diaper in a public bathroom. You’ll be lucky if you can find a changing table, and even luckier if it’s not covered in a suspicious sticky substance.
Another issue is the lack of supplies. Have you ever entered a public bathroom only to find that there’s no toilet paper? Or, even worse, what about a bathroom where the toilet paper dispenser is empty and there’s no spare roll in sight? These are the kinds of situations that can make a person feel like they’re stranded in the middle of nowhere.
And let’s not forget about the toilets themselves. From faulty flushing mechanisms to unsanitary seat covers, public toilets can be a source of constant frustration. Some restrooms even feature toilets with dual-flush systems, which can be confusing for those who are used to a traditional flush. (Do you press the button for number one or number two? The answer, of course, is that it depends on the restroom.)
When broken down nationally, public bathrooms in Wyoming were ranked as the worst in the country. Respondents there rated their bathrooms at 3.5/10, followed closely by those in Virginia who gave a score of 4.7 out of 10. In fact, according to the survey, public bathrooms in Virginia came in as 13th worst overall. However, reviews from residents of Vermont were very positive: They ranked their public bathrooms at 8/10.