Why are women supposed to wash their hands after urination?

Here, Cecil says that men should wash their hands after was touching “Mister P.” Why are men supposed to wash their hands after urination? He never addresses whether this applies to women. As a woman, I don’t touch my privates when I go to the bathroom. I understand that bathrooms are crawling with germs, and it’s a good idea to wash your hands frequently anyway. But since I don’t even touch the handle with my hand (I use my foot to flush in public restrooms) and can’t imagine I’m picking up more germs than I do with any other activity.

My friend and I have an ongoing argument about this, and I’m kind of annoyed with Cecil for not addressing it in the column. (By the way, sorry if this has been answered - nothing came up on my search.)

I thought most women wiped after urinating. I’d think that would bring your hand close enough to make washing your hands a good idea.

A couple of short discussions of handwashing and whether you can catch something from a toilet seat. FWIW.



That was my understanding as well. But I suppose if one managed to shimmy out of one’s pants without touching one’s flesh (as any skin between the knees and the top of the jeans/skirt is a decent breeding ground), and then hoisted one’s clothing in the same manner, touching nothing in a bathroom in the interim, I suppose there’s no real reason to wash.

'Course, that’s a bit far-fetched . . .

We use toilet paper to wipe. No hands-privates contact there. To pull down your pants, you need only touch the waistband. Are you telling me that the waistband of your clothes is so infested that you can’t touch it without endangering your health? (That’s my friend’s theory.)

I’m willing to accept that the door latch has some germs, but so does the faucet that you touch when you wash your hands.

Thanks for your contributions. I await more.

> But since I don’t even touch the handle with my hand (I use my foot to flush in public restrooms) and can’t imagine I’m picking up more germs than I do with any other activity.

Gah! You’re infecting the rest of us! You know, the ones who actually, um, handle the handle with our hands!

Geez, if you don’t want to wash your hands, then don’t do it. But why don’t you want to? Fear of germs on the tap handles at the sink? (The door handles aren’t going to be much better in that regard.) Dry, chapped hands? Water conservation?

Me, I wash my hands out of habit afterwards. And like most chemists, before as well due to lab-safety concerns. I also sometimes wrestle with feminine-hygiene devices in the stall, and though I’ve paper-wiped all the visible blood back off my hands while in there, I like to wash off any leftovers. Besides, under normal wipe conditions, don’t you ever get occasional soakthrough, dampening your dainty fingertips?

This is clearly one of the most important threads ever. Boy have my eyes been opened!

I got a question, however, for those of the female persuasion who pee (or worse) on, I mean over, I mean from above, the seat (that is always supposed to be down, BTW):

When you’re on the interstate and there’s no exit for 15 minutes or more, why can’t you use the same technique on the side of the road?

Just wonderin’.

Hey Yuck… This IS one of the most important threads ever! People think I’m paranoid about catching diseases after I finish going to the bathroom. I make sure I wash my hands with soap and HOT water, for at least 20 seconds which is probably not enough time anyway, especially in public restrooms. They say 1:00 is adequate, but it’s not always enough. I always use my foot to flush the toilet, and I never touch the urinal handle to flush, or the door handle on my way out. I grab a paper towel, flush, discard the paper towel, grab another paper towel and open the door with that. Is that paranoia, or just wanting to stay healthy? I’ve seen lots of people leave the restroom who do not wash their hands (even in my office, which is disgusting in itself – but you can’t confront them about it)!!!

On the same topic, did you know that technically you should never touch your shoe laces either? Guess where your feet are (if you’re a guy) while you’re standing at the urinal? Guess what splashes down onto your shoes if you stand close enough? Think about it. I’m surprised not everyone wears rubber gloves and plastic bags over their shoes these days.

I generally don’t pee on my feet.

I really hate it when people piss on the seat and then leave it. Nobody wants to clean up somebody else’s piss to then sit down. No, you shouldn’t be pissing on the seat anyway - if you’re standing, raise the seat. But accidents happen. Clean up your own mess.

Tatjana, you’re telling us that you’re so afraid of germs that you won’t touch the toilet handle with your hands, but then refuse to wash your hands afterwards? That just screams inconsistency. If you’re that worried about germ transfer from fixtures and doorknobs and such, use a paper towel.

Toilet paper is generally not sufficient to keep “whatever” off your hands.


Just wow, I cant believe there are women who dont wash their hands after using the toilet.

Well actually I know there arent, but I cant believe they justify it by thinking the toilet paper keeps them clean.

Of course, Im a nurse so go figure. I spent 6 hours of lab time learning handwashing technique, etc. (Yes, day one, wash your hands, day two wash your hands… etc)

Im not a particularly tidy person in the rest of my life, but about handwashing… you bet.

Especially when you figure people touch their face frequently, I dont have a cite but the figure we were taught in nursing school was once a minute.

In fact, bathroom or no, wash your hands when ever you think of it. Keeps away colds etc too.

Is this the reason Americans allways use way too much toiletpaper? A lot of people use my bathroom, and I have to put in new toiletpaper after every American that goes in there!

Tell me, are you afraid that you´ll get sick if you touch the handle? If you touch the seat? Maybe you´ll die? Just hearing about someone who uses their feet to…what, open doors? flush? to avoid germs gives me the creeps. Really.

It´s just germs, they´re everywhere - deal with it or go (more) insane.

On a brighter note, wherever the stream flows, it will bring life (Ezekiel 47: 9)

Puerile, maybe, but I find it amusing and fitting.
(call me mr. Puerility seemed like a longshot)

I’m surprised that people actually use their foot to flush.

Then again, I sit down when I pee, even in public restrooms, and I wash my hands afterward.
As I see it, there’s really nothing wrong with getting pee or germs on your hands, just wash them afterward to get rid of what you can.

Me, too, and I am an American. Isn’t it easier to wash your hands than to try to flush with your foot?

If the coliform bacteria start at your navel, as Cecil says, then, yeah, your waistband is probably pretty germy, and your underwear certainly is.

Besides, you never know which surfaces that you’ve touched with your hands have had prior contact with the sole of someone’s shoe!

How many of the people who worry about catching “germs” as a side-effect of bathrooms and toilet functions cheerfully engage in oral sex activities without dousing everything in Clorox first?

Seriously, folks, if you are in possession of an immune system I think you worry overly much. I wouldn’t volunteer to lick a public toilet but I have no squeams about shaking your hand after you’ve touched your parts. And as Cecil pointed out in the infamous column, washing your hands isn’t going to accomplish anything (except ritual obeisance) anyhow.

Well, when performing oral sex hopefully there weren’t hundreds of people there before hand that day.
That being said I (male) always wash my hands after going in a public restroom. At home I tend to me a bit lazier and only wash them after a movement.

I’m with Tatjana on this one. Assuming of course that there is no incident of “leak through” and that I am not in a public facility where the afore mentioned “ritual obeisance” applies, I have also upon occasion not felt it necessary to wash my hands.
If we presuppose a barrier of paper protects us from the toilet seat itself (liner) and from the germs on door handles and whatnot (with the strategic use of paper towels) why then wouldn’t it protect us from… ourselves?
I guess then my question is can paper block these germs? I need a ruling on this one quick; I feel a powerful urge coming on.

Well, at least some women should wash after peeing. :smiley:

Hamartia Paper can’t block germs. Which isn’t such a big deal except for those part of you body that you use to put food in your mouth and pick your nose…

Basically, if I’ve cleaned up anything that comes out of animal, and myself counts as an animal, then I wash my hands. It’s just good sense.

If I’m going to prepare or eat food, I wash my hands first. Again, just a good idea.

I fail to see what´s wrong with washing your hands, anyway. Instead of all tohose complicated things (flushing with the feet, tocuh the andle with toilet paper) couldn´t you just try some water and soap? Ugh, you really remind me of Howard Hughes.