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Toepener vs. StepNpull Battle!

A couple of days ago I posted about the Toepener. Well that generated a flurry of responses, or at least what we call a flurry around the ICBE. One of those response was from StepNpull, a similar product:

Great option but it’s not a new idea. StepNpull came out in 2007 which is the same concept. Thanks

Hang on, two competing door opening solutions for your feet? I love me some sweet obscure bathroom-related products competition! Let’s see how they stack up in a series of completely arbitrary categories…

And it’s the StepNpull by a hair! Tough to argue with that price, though Beth in the original post suggests the Toepener may be easier to use in certain situations. Any volunteers to install one of each in the ICBE offices so we can torture test them?

February 15, 2011   13 Comments

The Toepener

The Toepener. It’s a door handle. For your feet. Which frankly sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea.

But you know somebody’s stretching it when this is featured prominently on the product page:

Each Toepener includes:

1. Signage for mirrors and doors
2. Four stainless steel screws per Toepener
3. One machined etched and powder-coated American aluminium Toepener

Yay for screws?

via Metafilter

February 9, 2011   9 Comments

Washing Your Hair and Body in a Public Bathroom Sink

S.E. writes the following:


I have encountered several complaints about individuals who would wash their hair and bodies in a public washroom at a federal government work place. This practise is obviously disturbing as one would not expect to encounter a half naked man washing himself when you need to do your business.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find a Canadian health and safety regulation that says this is a wrong thing to do.

This seems to be more common with cyclists biking to work in the summer.

What is your take on the situation?

This is a tough question. I previously wrote about the practice of washing one’s feet in a public bathroom due to religious beliefs, where I concluded the following:

Tolerance of religious customs is good etiquette, and if a little foot washing is all we have to put up with, what’s the big deal?

So my initial temptation is to consider hair and body washing in the same category, but this doesn’t appear to be a case of religious freedom this time.

So what part of the process exactly constitutes bad etiquette? Obviously the chance for making a big watery mess is higher (and that’s certainly bad etiquette), but if the area remains clean that’s not the issue.

Washing one’s hair/body might take a long time, so if sinks are in short supply that would be a concern, but it doesn’t seem to be the case here.

It it unhealthy, as S.E. seems to assume? I can’t imagine washing one’s sweaty body or hair is any less sanitary than washing one’s feces-laden hands, so I’m not convinced it’s bad etiquette from a health perspective.

So the real issue appears to be a general uncomfortableness with the presence of partially naked men at the sinks. One thought is that we should all just be less prudish about a little skin, but the fact is etiquette is all about not making other people uncomfortable, or at the very least balancing your own personal comfort with that of others. Now one important thing we need to think about are the alternatives.

Sweaty, stinky people at work

So the real question is, does the benefit of being clean and nice-smelling offset the discomfort caused by your half-naked presence in the bathroom? I think sometimes it probably does.

Of course the ideal solution is to find some nearby showers or to have one installed, but this is the real world and ideal solutions don’t happen that often.

February 2, 2011   No Comments

Urinals at The Elms

If you’re ever in Newport, you can visit some historical mansions. And if you visit The Elms, then you can take a gander at these fantastic urinals:

Now generally speaking, bad urinal etiquette aside I’m a fan of urinals. They are more efficient than toilets in terms of space occupied, time taken and water used. But urinals like those pictured here – yikes! Why don’t you just go ahead and stand in the middle of the room and pee in a cup? I’d get a serious case of shy bladder trying to empty into one of those…

February 2, 2011   No Comments

Gentlemen, Wash Your Hands!

I was out for dinner the other night, and in the time it took for me to use the urinal, I witnessed no fewer than two people walk straight out of stalls and out of the bathroom.


With that in mind, here’s one approach to solving the problem of men not washing their hands:

From Moggit and DailyHaHa

January 16, 2011   1 Comment

Biological Odor Eliminator

If you’re a regular person, you might bust out a little air freshener from time to time. As Wikipedia so aptly puts it:

Air fresheners are consumer products used in homes or commercial products used in restrooms that mitigate unpleasant odors.

Notice anything missing from that description? That’s right, nary a mention of doctors or hospitals. That’s because if you’re in the medical profession, you don’t use air freshener. You use biological odor eliminator.

Photo courtesy of unnamed family member

Though the photo depicts the MediChoice brand, rest assured that Amazon has your biological odor eliminator needs completely covered. No word on what the doctors do for non-biological odors…

January 3, 2011   3 Comments

Serial Seat Peeing and the Chicago Tribune

I was fortunate recently to be interview by Nara Schoenberg, writing a piece on office bathroom etiquette for the Chicago Tribune. The problem: A Serial Seat Pee-er Here’s some of what I had to say:

This person knows it’s gross. He knows it’s disrespectful. And he’s doing it on purpose.

Seriously, it’s hard to imagine an adult not knowing that peeing all over the seat is disrespectful to everyone around him. Still, you never really know the circumstances. Perhaps this was an obese individual who couldn’t even see the seat? Perhaps it was really only 2 or 3 drops at a time, and there were some hypersensitive coworkers describing this as peeing all over? Or perhaps this individual had been raised in a cave by wolves, being reintroduced to society only recently.

Really, you never know.

Read the full article

PS: Peeing on the seat happens to all of us (well, at least all of us who pee standing up) from time to time – just remember to clean up your mess!

December 27, 2010   2 Comments

Where Do I Put The Paper?

Years ago, a friend and I travelled to Greece, where all of the guidebooks told us we didn’t flush the toilet paper, but rather placed it in the garbage adjacent to the toilet.

Our reaction was pretty much yuck, but we dutifully obeyed, fearfully of crippling the Greek plumbing system.

These days, we wouldn’t need a guidebook, we’d simply head to and check out the entry for Greece:

In Greece, it’s paper in the bin time again I’m afraid. The Greek plumbing system can’t take paper and it’ll be bunged up and flooding if you try to flush the paper. Newer, up-market hotels should be able to accept the papery deposit, but in most cases it’s best not to risk it.

Now what did I just tell you? boasts entries for countries from Afghanistan (“If you can find a toilet in Afghanistan, well done!“) to Zimbabwe (“ toilet paper is expensive and you’d better be prepared to hunt around for it as there’s massive shortages.“), and a whole lot in between – go check it out!

via Metafilter

December 21, 2010   No Comments

Chinese Students Don’t Like Female Urinals

Shaanxi Normal University has installed 6 female urinals for its students to use in an effort to conserve water.

Unfortunately, students are not big fans of the urinals, which require a disposable paper funnel to aid in the aiming process. Who would have imagined that awkwardly peeing into a disposable paper funnel wouldn’t be fun?

Read at Shangaiist (via Fark)

December 20, 2010   2 Comments

Kenny Lao’s Got a Bad Bathroom

The bad news is that Kenny Lao, founder of Rickshaw Dumplings, doesn’t exactly have a luxurious bathroom.

The good news is that it’s about to get a whole lot better. Dubbed New York City’s Worst Bathroom (surely there are much, much worse?), Kenny’s facilities are now the subject of an Architizer design challenge.

Up to the challenge? Winners get a $5,000 design fee and the joy of seeing their design come to life.

via BoingBoing

December 10, 2010   No Comments