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10 Ways Public Restrooms Could Change Forever

Did someone say self-disinfecting toilet seats?

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Female and male sign on toilet doorMartin Diebel/Getty Images

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have questioned the sanitation of a public restroom. While the bathrooms that have fallen short of cleanliness requirements were just a little uncomfortable before the novel coronavirus, now they could be downright dangerous. Many people will not feel at ease making their way back to restaurants, concerts, or even the movies until certain protocols are in place, especially when it comes to the restrooms in these places that normally have a reputation for being a haven for germs. Experts have a few thoughts about what the future will look like in terms of using the bathroom in public and it’s safe to say that grimy toilets will certainly be a thing of the past. Here a little more insight on what life, in general, could look like after coronavirus.

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Public toilet and Bathroom interior with wash basin and toilet room.Khotcharak Siriwong/Getty Images

Less opportunity to go in public

Many organizations will not open their public restrooms at all unless it is necessary by law to do so, Abdil Baholda, a clinical lead and pharmacist, says. It may become the norm to go into a store or café without the opportunity to use the restroom.

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Texas Businesses Began To Reopen At Limited Capacity As Governor's Stay At Home Order Expired ThursdayRonald Martinez/Getty Images

More space

The urinals in the men’s restrooms will have larger spaces between them which can be implemented quite quickly by removing every other urinal already installed, Jase Rodley, a technical SEO consultant, says. This also could be the case for toilets.

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public restroomsgoldhafen/Getty Images

Automatic doors

Rodley also imagines that the entrance and exit doors are likely to be automated for people to avoid touching them as often.

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Low Section Of Man Cleaning Floor In Public RestroomArne Trautmann / EyeEm/Getty Images

Digital cleanliness boards

In Sweden, even before the pandemic, most public restrooms had digital boards showing the last time they were cleaned, Viktor Sander, a counselor specialized in human behavior, says. Regardless of showcasing cleaning times to the public, restrooms will certainly have to be disinfected with a higher frequency and aligned with a strict protocol. Clean public restrooms will not be a luxury anymore. Check out how hotels are also improving cleanliness after coronavirus.

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Detail shot of a fluorescent light tube on a wall.AstridSinai/Getty Images

UV disinfection technology

UV-C disinfection will become the norm, according to Brad Halsey, CEO and founder of Building Momentum. UV-C motion detection disinfection lights automatically turn on when the door closes. Among the other tools, there are tests for air-disinfecting towers and gasified hygiene.

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Man dries wet hands with an electric hand dryersRealPeopleGroup/Getty Images

Contactless technology

Automatic taps soap dispensers and hand dryers may need to be installed to promote minimal contact when it comes to using the sink, Aragona Giuseppe, GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor, claims. Automatic flushes will become the norm and possibly even automatic toilet seats, lids, and locks on stall doors. Implementing minimal contact technologies will be a crucial way to ensure that public restrooms are safe.

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Closeup Asian woman hand using wash hand sanitizer gel dispenser automatic machineTzido/Getty Images

Hand sanitizing stations

Hand sanitizer will be everywhere in addition to hand soap, Allen Yeung of Little Discoverer believes. Most likely outside the restroom doors to wipe away germs from any surface touched inside. This will be especially true for common spaces such as offices.

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flushing a closestool with blue waterFreer Law/Getty Images

Self-disinfecting toilets

Toilet seats will need to be refurbished to include a disinfecting wipe dispenser next to the toilet paper, Lina Velikova, a medical advisor at Supplements101, says. Feasibly we could see “self-disinfecting” toilet seats on the market soon, using a combination of chemical and UV rays to keep the surface free of germs.

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Close-Up Of Hook Against WallStefan Dinse / EyeEm/Getty Images

More storage

Public restrooms will also have more practical changes in addition to technological ones. People may see extra hooks and shelves placed throughout the bathroom and inside the stall to decrease the likelihood of people placing personal items on the floor, Colleen Costello, CEO and co-founder of Vital Vio, says.

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Air Ventihoe/Getty Images

Enhanced ventilation

There could be enhanced ventilation systems to prevent viruses from remaining in the air, CJ Xia, a healthcare professional and vice president of marketing and sales at Boster Biological Technology, says. Public restrooms will have proper ventilation systems so that any airborne virus or bacteria is not contained in one space for too long. Next, check out these everyday habits that will change forever after coronavirus.

Emma Taubenfeld
Emma Taubenfeld is an assistant editor for Reader’s Digest who focuses on digital lifestyle topics such as memes, social media captions, pick-up lines, and cute pets. When she’s not working, you can find Emma reading corny young adult novels, creating carefully curated playlists, and figuring out how to spice up boxed mac and cheese.