Why is the flush handle on the left hand side?

As I was doing the first half of the Coffee Exchange[sup]*[/sup] this morning, my mind got to wondering. In all but a very few cases, I have always seen the flush handle on the left hand side of the toilet or urinal.

Does anyone have any idea why?

  • Out with the old, in with the new.

Maybe because most people are right-handed so they … do their business, their holding, their wiping, etc., with their right-hand, so the left is their “clean” hand?

We might need to clarify left and right here. I suspect the OP was meant left as he was facing the toilet. Sitting on the toilet, or facing away from it (shorter path for used toilet paper to travel) the flush would be on the right.

On my toilet, and most I’ve seen, it’s on the left as you’re looking at the toilet. Sitting on or facing away from, it would be on your right.

Surely you mean the second part of the Coffee Exchange.

Clever expression, BTW. Yours?

With motor vehicles, each side is reckoned from the position behind the steering wheel, whether sitting there or from outside, looking at the front of the vehicle.

I’ve owned more than my share of shit boxes, so I can say with an expert’s certainty that most handles are on the right.

But you don’t flush while sitting down, do you? I wait till I’ve stood up and turned around.

BTW, I’m a right-handed male and I use my left-hand to hold the business end, as it were, while standing. The right hand holds my flies open, so both hands are occupied.

Missed the edit, but I don’t agree with the OP’s observation, anyway. All the handles are on the right of the toilet here at work (as you face it), and many cisterns are set up for either side (note the blanking plug on the unused side).

In my experience a pushbutton on the top is more common, these days.

The majority of people are right handed. Handle is on the right when you’re sitting. It seems like a convenient setup. I stand before flushing, but I’m still facing the same direction. Reaching behind me with my right hand.

Except traditionally the sinister left hand is the dirty, unclean hand, because that’s the one you use to wipe your ass, and you shake hands and eat and write with your clean right hand.

So a plausible explanation is that toilets are designed to be flushed using the sinister hand, so the clean hand never has to touch the filthy object.

Like with any job you’ve got management on one side and grunts on the other.

I think this is the right answer, and what I was going to post, but Lemur866, you said it much better.

I think we are talking about toilets with tanks, like most have at home, and facing them when flushing. As opposed to the typical urinal in a men’s room, where you stand and face the receptacle while doing your business - in the latter, the handle (if there is one) is typically on the right side. Many of these are now automated so no handle at all.

Come to think of it, the toilets in a men’s room, and presumably women’s room, will also have the handle on the right (as you are facing the bowl). Maybe private toilets with tanks have the handle on the left, and public/office settings with industrial bowls/urinals/plumbing have them on the right? Maybe a plumber on the board can comment.

Actually, if you do an image search for “urinal”, you’ll see that most of them have the flush handle on the left side.

I, for one, always flush while sitting down. Sometimes intra-turd. 1) Self mercy flush 2) Feel cleaner after wiping and then standing up. All done: space, self ready to go!

In case anyone was wondering.

Correct: Left hand as you’re looking at the toilet or urinal

Yes, those of us that sit looking at it will have it on the left… and very handy.

Maybe it’s a remnant from the days when the tank was up on the wall and flushed with a pull chain?

I had a toilet that used a knob in the center top of the tank, that was connected to a rod that you pulled straight up.

This is the correct answer.
The pull chain hung down on the users right (as they sat).
The tanks were ‘converted’ from chain to handle when they were moved to the throne itself.

They’re on the other side only in the Southern Hemisphere, where the water swirls the other way.

Left-handed (while seated) toilets do exist - the guy who custom built my home installed one. I really didn’t notice when I added to the house. I now have two toilets that are identical except for the handle location. A bit annoying, actually.