12 Urinal Etiquette Tips For Public Restrooms

Urinal Etiquette
When using public restroom give people their personal space, practice good hygine and clean up after using it. Don't take too much time and avoid using phone. Respect others' gender identity and follow the local guidelines.

1. Stay In Your Bubble

When using a urinal, knowing which urinal to use is essential. You should always give other people their personal space. If you walk in and someone is at the first urinal, skip the next one to give them space rather than going straight for the middle urinal next to them.

If there is only one empty urinal and it is right beside someone else, try and slip in and out without running into anyone or taking too much space. Stand at a reasonable distance from the next guy in the men’s room to avoid awkwardness.

2. Avoid Unnecessary Noise

When using a public bathroom, the last thing you or anyone else wants to hear is unnecessary noise. This means no humming or singing and no talking on the phone. Also, even if you know someone else in the bathroom, such as a co-worker, save your chat for outside the men’s bathroom.

Another unspoken rule of proper urinal etiquette is always to cover your mouth if you have to sneeze or cough. It is a restroom, but that doesn’t mean other dudes want your germs spread everywhere. Be considerate of others.

3. Don’t Let Your Eyes Wander

Just like locker room etiquette, the golden rule of urinal etiquette is to keep your eyes to yourself. No one wants to walk into a bathroom and feel uncomfortable because you make eye contact with them while they are doing their business.

You should keep your eyes straight ahead or on the floor. Don’t look side to side or all around, as other people may feel awkward, self-conscious, or even take offense. Breaking this rule can cause serious issues in some cases.

4. Don’t Dillydally

If you are using a public toilet, don’t take your sweet time. First of all, there are usually a minimal number of urinals and toilet stalls in a public bathroom, meaning that you should do your business as quickly as possible and move along to avoid longer wait times for others.

Move away from the urinal to allow others to go once you’re done. Don’t wait around for someone else, even if they are your buddy. Move to the sink, wash your hands, and make room for someone else.

5. Keep It Clean

Always flush the urinal after yourself, even if the person before you did not. Imagine if 4 or 5 people use the urinal without flushing. The smell would become overpowering after a while, and prolonged exposure to the urine odor is not good for your health.

Also, whether in bathroom stalls or urinals, you should always clean up any messes you left behind. Use a tissue, toilet paper, or paper towel to clean up messes on or around the toilet seat or floor.

6. Consider Disabilities

As another unwritten rule, avoid using the bathroom stall that is designated for people with disabilities. This should be kept available for individuals who actually need it.

If this is the only stall available, use it quickly and move on. Also, if there is a line and someone in the stall for people with disabilities is taking a long time, don’t be impatient, as they may need the extra time.

7. Respect Others’ Gender Identity

gender signs for bathroom
gender signs for bathroom

When using a public restroom, you should always respect the gender identity of others. You should also always use the urinal or restroom designated for your specific gender to avoid confusion or discomfort for anyone.

In some places, there are gender-neutral options for restrooms. However, if you identify as non-binary and there are no gender-neutral options, use the restroom that aligns most with your gender identity, or you can use a bathroom stall.

You should never comment on anyone else using the same bathroom with you, as you do not know what gender they identify with. Always be respectful of others.

8. No Phone Zone

While using the urinal, avoid being on the phone. Not only is it unsanitary, but the other people in the restroom do not want to hear your conversation.

Keep your phone in your pocket to stop the spread of germs and to avoid others feeling uncomfortable with you having your phone out around them.

9. Be Mindful and Adaptable

While using the urinal, be mindful of your surroundings. Situations and circumstances will differ in different settings, so be aware and adapt accordingly.

Some public restrooms will be extremely busy, meaning you will need to keep your visit to the restroom short and sweet. This may also mean that the noise levels will be louder than others, but that doesn’t mean you need to contribute to that.

In other restrooms, things will be more slow-going and tranquil, meaning you are not rushed. Being adaptable is key in any public restroom situation.

10. Practice Good Hygiene

Man washing hands in public bathroom
Man washing hands in public bathroom

Though this may seem obvious, some people need a gentle reminder to wash their hands after using the bathroom. This doesn’t mean simply rinse with water and leave.

Use soap and water to thoroughly clean your hands before leaving the restroom. Public restrooms can be breeding grounds for several germs and viruses, so clean your hands thoroughly and do not touch anything on your way out.

11. Follow COVID-19 Guidelines

As we are still in the midst of a pandemic, it is imperative to your safety and the safety of others to follow any and all COVID-19 guidelines. If any guidelines are posted in the restroom, you should adhere to them with no questions asked.

Some places may still require you to wear a mask, and this is still expected even when you enter the restroom. Also, be sure to practice social distancing. This may include waiting outside until others leave the restroom before you enter.

12. Speak Up

Unfortunately, some people may not be familiar with or adhere to proper urinal etiquette. This does not mean that you should sit by and watch it happen. If someone behaves inappropriately or violates urinal etiquette, don’t be afraid to speak up.

Be sure to do so in a respectful but stern manner. Help them understand why this behavior is inappropriate and perhaps offer suggestions to help them change it.

If they continue to act inappropriately or you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, you should exit the restroom and seek assistance from a staff member or security personnel.

What you should not do, however, is leave that person to continue doing what they are doing. This could cause issues or even put others in danger.

Margaret Dunn

Margaret is a passionate writer based in Costa Rica, though she was raised in the southeastern US. Being from the South, good manners and proper etiquette were ingrained in her from a young age and she has always been fascinated with etiquette in different settings and places. When she is not writing, you can find her exercising, reading, or spending time with her family at the beach.

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