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Paper Towels > Air Blowers

A recent study has concluded that paper towels are superior to air blowers for drying your hands off. Which comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody who has ever used one of those old school blow driers which are absolute pieces of crap.

I have some very clear memories of spending forever trying to get my hands dry at the local McDonald’s because they used those blowers there, and never really succeeding. Has anybody ever actually used one of those to get their hands completely dry? Now something like the Dyson Airblade does a credible job of actually drying your hands off, but it still lacks a couple of advantages that paper towels have:

  1. You can use a paper towel to open the door bathroom door without directly touching it
  2. You can use a paper towel to clean up random spills

Now #1 is a problem we shouldn’t have. Public bathroom doors should always open outwards. And if space is available, the doors can be removed entirely and replaced by those curvy hallways that prevent you from seeing in (aka airport style). And #2 doesn’t happen often, but if you are out and about and spill something or just generally need a cleanup, it’s nice to be able to pop into the bathroom and grab some questionably absorbent paper towels.

Good luck cleaning up a spill with a bloody Airblade!

If you want to read more, there’s some interesting commentary at Techdirt, one of the few sites on the internet where you actually want to read the comments!

January 8, 2013   2 Comments

How Do Astronauts Poop In Space?

How do astronauts poop in space? The answer, as you might expect, is very carefully:

If the astronaut isn’t positioned correctly over the vacuum of the toilet, solid waste could get smeared on the toilet and the astronaut. In a worse-case scenario, some might escape and start floating around the space vehicle.

Floating space poop – fantastic! I’ve never really been one of those people who had a burning desire to visit space, and I really have to say that until NASA or whoever sorts out their shit (pun – clever!) and designs a decent space toilet, I don’t see my opinion changing anytime soon.

The Examiner goes into great detail in a two part series:

Part I
Part II

January 3, 2013   No Comments


It was almost two years ago that I posted about the Toepener and StepNpull, both of which appear to have functioning websites, and both of which promise a hygienic way to open bathroom doors with your feet.

Enter the WristPull, a hygienic way to open doors with your wrist, which frankly might be a little more convenient for those of us who are a bit sketchy in the balance department. Except with a Twitter account that hasn’t updated since June, and a non-functional website, I’m not convinced these guys are even still in business.

All hail our foot-based hygienic door-opening overlords?

January 2, 2013   No Comments

There’s Always Time for Good Bathroom Etiquette – Even in a Stand Off

There really are no excuses for poor bathroom etiquette, as demonstrated by Jeremy Renner on a recent episode of Saturday Night Live. That’s right, even when locked in a three way stand off, Renner and his enemies find time to observe proper urinal etiquette:

  • Eyes forward
  • A buffer urinal between everybody

Depending on where you live, you can go check out the skit on Hulu.

December 17, 2012   No Comments

Revisited: Seat Up, Seat Down

Angry ICBE reader John writes the following:


You forgot to mention the situation where there may be three men in the house … and three bathrooms …. the one most familiar to the woman being out of commission because she made it that way (renos) … and getting to the other one not generally used by the boys means walking down some stairs … But .. the woman always expects the seat in the guy’s bathroom to be down at all times!!


And she doesn’t lift the seat after she finishes doing her thing (because we are all so considerate of her needs … when we remember) to make sure the guys don’t piss on it (we forget to lift it sometimes) and when she goes …. we have to all face the wrath of a woman calling us assholes because someone didn’t lift the seat.


Really John? Really, do I have to take a quote from the ICBE’s own page describing this subject:

Listen, this isn’t about logic, or statistics, or minimizing global effort or anything other than etiquette and doing what’s right. It’s right to leave the seat down, because women prefer it that way.

I think that sums it up pretty nicely. So my advice to you is to suck it up, put the seat down and get over it.


PS: But I will admit that name calling the woman is doing isn’t very nice!

October 24, 2012   No Comments

Who wants to bare-ass it on a public toilet?

That’s a great question, and in fact it comes from fearless ICBE reader Ryan. He writes in full:

I love your site! Keep up the good work! I refer friends often…

Can you please address those unfortunate places where they do not provide toilet seat covers in the bathroom? Being accustomed to living in CA, I automatically go for the seat covers that are “provided by the management” when the need to sit down arises (this should be deferred whenever possible!)

However whenever traveling out of state I have noticed an unacceptable number of places where this is not the standard! Now a need for creative toilet paper folding is necessary and this is time consuming compared with my standard compliment of 3 toilet seat covers strategically placed on top of one another.

Anyhow, thought it would be a great topic for your site – not exactly etiquette as it relates to others, but definitely a hygiene topic and a common courtesy for businesses to provide to customers… After all who wants to bare-ass it on a public toilet!?!?!

The first thing that I wondered upon reading this email was whether California had enacted some kind of law requiring that establishments provide such toilet seat covers. It turns out they have not, but there are certainly some rumors out there suggesting they might have.

In any case, just like Ryan I happen to live in Southern California these days and the majority of places do provide toilet seat covers. Which means that it’s time for a shocking confession: I never actually use them!

Don’t worry, I’m not bare-assing it, but I just always use toilet paper even if those covers are available. I suppose I’m just a creature of habit, and since I can’t rely on those covers I use good old TP which is always present (or I’m not taking a poop!).

Sadly, I don’t have much worthwhile advice. You could try to petition government to enact such a law (they flirted with the idea briefly in Maine), but I probably recommend getting comfortable with the idea of the toilet paper tent or the hoversquat. Budgets are tight and I’m imagine seeing fewer places with toilet seat covers in the future, not more – even in sunny California.

October 23, 2012   No Comments

Bathroom Sex, Bathroom Sex, Bathroom Sex

Image borrowed from Derek Dubois’ post on public sex

BS (yes, the guy asking about bathroom sex has the initials BS) writes the following:

Just wondering if y’all could promote the nooner in the office loo as an entirely acceptable way of spending our lunchtime break from the daily grind. I was actually fired, along with my paramour, in the early ’90s for having a routine carnal meet and greet in the comfort station on the 9th floor that provided just the right motivation for the remaining hours of the daily grind. There needs to be an advocacy for the rights of the oppressed office chump to engage in the best form of recreation that a lunch hour can provide, without the fallout from the uptight ruling class.

Ah yes, the eternal struggle of the oppressed office chump against the uptight ruling class. Except usually that doesn’t involve quite so much bathroom sex. I hate to say it, but bathroom etiquette is all about not bothering other people. And you know what bothers people at work? Other people having sex in the bathroom. No, I don’t think this is creepy in the same way that masturbation in a public bathroom is, but it’s still not something that is generally okay – especially not at work.

Sorry to rain on your parade!

PS: Obviously this guy has cleaner work bathrooms than I do!

September 26, 2012   No Comments

Bathroom Rainbow

This actually happened in my very own bathroom.


September 19, 2012   No Comments

Toilet of Doom Part II

You know that awesome bathroom I wrote about the other day? Well, things have gone from bad to worse. Actually, maybe that’s not fair. It could in fact be that the toilet disappearing completely is in fact an improvement over the previous situation

My on-the-scene reporters were not going to just let this story be, and waged a length campaign to track down the missing toilet. You know, they looked in the shower. Yep, there it is…

I wish I could have listened in on the though process that ended with yeah, let’s just put that darn thing over there in the shower!

September 18, 2012   No Comments

They Just Keep Adding More Towels

A few days ago a couple of ex-coworkers of mine sent me a few pictures of the toilet in the women’s bathroom where they still work, with the caption being simply “they just keep adding more towels“:

While admittedly a little gross, I thought this was a reasonably amusing situation that would get resolved within a couple of days. Toilets leak and people fix leaking toilets all the time, right?

Wrong. This is the picture I received about a week after the first one:

Yikes! Not only has the toilet not been fixed, it has quite literally disconnected itself from the wall and is now lying on it’s side on the floor. But here’s the real kicker: it’s not even officially out of order! The bathroom is so neglected that there isn’t even a warning sign. And yes, that is water that you see in the bowl.

No word yet on how many people have tried to use the toilet in its current state, or how successful they have been…

PS: I thought about naming names here, but decided against it. The ICBE isn’t really out to publicly shame any person or organization (feel free to go through our archives to see how consistent we are with that one), and I’m going to optimistically hope that this is the result of budget cuts and lack of facilities staffing as opposed to sheer contempt for the employees.

September 11, 2012   1 Comment