Why do so many public restroom doors swing inward?

Why do businesses make their bathroom doors swing inward?

After you have washed your hands, you have to grab the same nasty door handle used by every Tom, Dick, and Harry and all the non-hand washers to just get out of the bathroom. This leads to the dreaded “I want to use a paper towel to open up the door to get out, but the stupid bathroom only has air dryers!” problem.

I would like to think that most everyone would rather grab a handle to get in the restroom, then do their business, then wash their hands, and then push on the door to exit the restroom with clean hands.

You would think that at least many businesses with standardized buildings (such as gas stations and fast food restaurants) would have figured this out, but no - they haven’t.

What is the deal with this? Architects, what is your problem?

Bathroom doors generally don’t have windows. If they swung out, you couldn’t see if someone was in the hall, and risk smashing a random passerby with the door. With a door that swings into the bathroom, anyone approaching that door would be aware that someone might be opening it, and would probably be trying to open it themselves.

Think of it this way.

You’re approaching the rest room. You really gotta go. You’re in a rush so you sprint to the door, ready to seize the handle and pull it open and get in there absolutely ASAP and –


The door flies open just as you’re 2 or 3 feet away as someon casually exits the bathroom, right into your nose/face/hand or other extended extremity.

Ow ow ow.

Versus a door that opens inwards. The person inside the room who’s coming out now has to be wary of someone pushing the door in, but has the warning sign (if he’s looking) of the knob turning or of hearing footsteps approaching. He’s not preoccupied, you see.

Also - if you’re that concerned about the germs you get from touching a doorknob or pushing a door open for a few seconds that other unsanitary and germy people may have touched for a few of their seconds, you probably shouldn’t be using a public bathroom. Or else be carrying around sani-wipes and individually sealed packets of Purell with you (that’s not really sarcastic, I’ve seen people do both of these even if I don’t).

Or touching anything at all, for that matter. Wanna know what’s on your toothbrush?

If you pick the right bar, the doors swing both ways.

Bad word.

It’s enough that I have to worry about doing endo over the darn car doors while I ride my bike… they should make the car doors open inward… somehow.

If you’ve got to go really, really bad, it’s definitely easier to push the door inwards rather than pull it outwards. Especially when you are wearing a full arm cast. Believe me, I know.

Afterwards, the few seconds it takes to open the door inward do not matter as much.

I am trying to think of any doors on hinges that don’t open inward. The only one I can come up with is the security door on the front of my house. The door behind the security door opens inward. All the doors for the rooms in my house open inward. The office doors every where I have worked. The classrooms I went to school in etc. I think the answer is that doors opening inward is the convention. I would not be surprised if it was a building code.

I don’t undestand how this is any different. Every door swings in at least one way. Anytime you approach a door that you can’t see the other side, someone could be about to push it toward you. Wether the “danger zone” is inside the bathroom or outside makes no difference.

Bathroom doors do not tend to be in major traffic zones, they are set apart, there are no “random passerbys.”

This thread is sorely in need of a YouTube link to that scene from that one Naked Gun movie.

There’s a door here at work that opens out into a hallway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost gotten smacked by it.

Nope, there are plenty of bathroom doors that swing outward. I’ve been paying attention recently, its around 50%.

Just as a counterexample, every door I walk through to get to my office swings outward. This would make much more sense fire-wise.

I’m trying to think of one at work that’s NOT in a major traffic zone.

Guess you never seen panicked projectile hurlers or waterfall diarrhea holders with tunnel vision running.

I don’t mind them swinging in the way once they allow enough clearance for y’know a person to stand in the cubicle and still be able to close or open the door.

You need it to swing inward so when the damned lock is broken you can hold it shut with a hand or with the top of your head sometimes if need be and not have to grab onto part of it which you might not be able to reach from a seated position. Duh.

I work in a clinic that’s part of a large medical center. All of our non-bathroom doors that I can think of have windows in them, or are completely glass. All of our bathrooms are in major hallways that employees and patients walk through to get to a clinic, the elevators, etc.

When I worked in a restaurant, the opening-in bathrooms were in the same hallway as the door to the kitchen. Maybe a customer might think of that as out-of-the-way, but fast-moving waiters with trays wouldn’t think so, and definitely wouldn’t want to be hit by an outward-opening door.

I much prefer it when the architects take the trouble to arrange entry to the bathrooms which require no door at all.

Not true. In many large buildings, bathroom doors open on the same corridors that all other doors do.

I know of two restaurants where you practically have to stand on the toilet to open and close the door.