The reason why toilet seats are U-shaped in public bathrooms but aren’t at home – and it’s to do with hygiene – The Sun

YOU may have noticed there’s a distinct difference between public toilets and the one in your own home.

It’s all to do with the seat with toilets in public bathrooms having a gap at the front so it is shaped like the letter u.

But the seat in your bathroom at home will have a seat which goes all the way around.

Puzzling out the reason why is enough to send you round the u-bend – but actually the answer is fairly straight forward.

It’s all down to hygiene as most public authorities in the US have specific plumbing codes.

The one in California says: “All water closet seats, except those within dwelling units, shall be either of the open front type or have an automatic seat cover dispenser.”

The move was first brought in in the American Standard National Plumbing Code in 1955 and then later in the Uniform Plumbing Codes in 1973.

The gap in the seat is meant to give the user a little breathing room to avoid touching the seat with your genitals and provide one less place where urine could splash.

The gap in the seat is also meant to make it easier for women to wipe, according to Lynne Simnick, the senior vice president of code development at the IAPMO – International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.



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She said the design allows “women to wipe the perineal area after using the toilet without contacting the seat.”

There might also be something in the fact the seats with the gap are cheaper to produce and less likely to get stolen.

The UK’s Healthmatic managing director Roger Barry said: “The appearance of u-shaped seats is something that has dampened in the UK."

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