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All Your Bathroom Etiquette Questions—Answered!

We all know to flush and wash our hands, but what about the not-so-obvious rules of the bathroom? Here's the official etiquette answers to all of your restroom issues.

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iStock/Martin Dimitrov

Can I keep talking on my cell phone in the restroom?

Save cell phone calls for later. It’s more polite to the other people in the bathroom, as well as the person on the other end of the phone. Loud, echoing flushes aren’t a nice thing to subject anyone to during a conversation.

Source: SalesHQ

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What’s the biggest bathroom pet peeve?

It’s official: the biggest bathroom faux pas is not cleaning up after yourself. Make a habit of treating every bathroom, whether you’re at work or a house guest, as if it were your bathroom at home. Splashed water all
around the sink? Grab a facial tissue and wipe it up! Used a toilet seat cover? Make sure it’s fully flushed away.

Source: SalesHQ

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My boss and I walk into the restroom together—am I supposed to carry on a conversation?

If you can, refrain from anything more than friendly greetings while in the restroom; some people would rather not carry on a conversation while also carrying on their business.

Source: Sales HQ

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What do I do if I finish a roll of toilet paper?

If you use up the last of the toilet paper in a public or workplace restroom, always look around to see if spare rolls are available. If not, contact the office manager regarding the outage. If nothing else, warn the next person about to head into the stall.

Source: Women’s Health

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Um… what about taking care of business, in a public restroom?

Etiquette suggests that you flush during as well as immediately after doing your business; this reduces any overheard sounds and other lingering evidence. And if you’re in a private home, use the bathroom fan.

Source: The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette

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iStock/Terry J Akorn

I’m the host—what should I double check before my guests arrive?

Don’t make your guests search for toilet paper, soap, hand towels, and bath towels. Make sure they’re readily visible, and that an extra roll or two of TP is easy to find, if needed.  And if guests are staying overnight, make sure to give them the inside scoop on operating your shower—a blast of cold water is never welcome.

Source: The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette

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iStock/Dominik Pabis

What towel am I supposed to use?

When you’re a guest, be sure to reach for the hand towel to dry your hands—refrain from using your hosts’ bath towels. If you don’t see a hand towel available for general use, speak up and ask, or grab a paper towel from the kitchen.

Source: The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette

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iStock/Joey Boylan

If the door’s not locked, it’s free, right?

Sometimes bathroom door locks don’t secure properly. Instead of quickly pushing at a communal stall door, always take a moment to look under the door for feet. Then you won’t run into any embarrassing situations!

Source: Women’s Health

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It’s your worst nightmare—a clogged toilet. Can you slip away?

It’s happened to the best of us. If you have caused a clog, hold down the faucet handle and attempt to correct it. If that fails, it’s your duty to report it to the powers that be! Don’t worry—public facilities and offices will always have supplies available, and it happens more often than you’d think!

Source: The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest