Social Question

jrpowell's avatar

Why do people get freaked out if you don't wash your hands after using the restroom?

Asked by jrpowell (40369 points ) December 5th, 2009

Really, I barely ever get pee or poo on my hands. It isn’t a big deal. But after a few beers oral sex isn’t a concern. Seriously, touching the shaft and not washing is gross but putting my pee-hole in your mouth doesn’t raise concerns. WTF?

Hi Allie!

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92 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Because the bathroom itself is filled with fecal bacteria. Gross, huh?

Edit: I also want to say hello to Allie. Hi Allie!

putputput's avatar

I never wash my hands after the toilet.

Jeruba's avatar

Don’t be shaking hands with me, then, please. I’ll just say “welcome” from way over here.

jrpowell's avatar

Gives Jeruba a huge HUG.

gemiwing's avatar

I saw a study (have to dig it up) that said your hands will be cleaner if you don’t wash in a public restroom. Just grab a paper towel to open the door, and git.

J0E's avatar

@nikipedia has it right. There is a plethora of bacteria floating around, and you have no idea where urine has been it tends to be everywhere.

Supacase's avatar

Because it is gross. Everything in the bathroom has nasty stuff on it – especially public restrooms. Do you touch the handle to flush? Touch the door on your way out? Then you have dirty hands.

@gemiwing I pull the paper towel lever before I wash my hands, that way I just have to tear it off. I use the towel to turn off the water and open the door. My hands touch nothing in a public restroom after I wash them.

gemiwing's avatar

Then isn’t there fecal matter in a radius all around the bathroom- heck, all over the office/store? There’d be no escaping it- it’s on our shoes and we walk like the dickens. (the poos calling from inside the house!)

@Supacase But the paper towel lever won’t be sterile. The paper towels won’t be sterile either.

Side note- isn’t bacteria small enough to pass through the holes in a paper towel? And if bacteria transfer is instantaneous- then there really is no stopping it.

DominicX's avatar

Honestly, how many times have you all gotten sick because of fecal matter in a bathroom? The only times I’ve ever gotten sick have been cold and flu and those have nothing to do with that. Just wash your hands (it only takes a few damn seconds) and if you’re really concerned, use hand sanitizer afterward.

(I always wash my hands after using bathroom, public or not).

LKidKyle1985's avatar

When ever I take a Piss I usually don’t bother washing my hands. I really don’t touch anything, I just whip it out and let it do its thing, then whip it back in. Its like magic

Tink's avatar

That is the reason why I don’t like shaking mens hands. You nasty.

dpworkin's avatar

Handwashing when you are in the bathroom is like changing your smoke-alarm batteries when you change your clock back to Standard Time: it’s an easy way to remember something you should be doing anyway.

Most communicable diseases occur because you touch something with a virus or bacteria, and then rub your mucous membranes, such as when you are tired and rub your eyes. All day you are handling money, touching things others have touched, and shaking hands, etc.

If you use soap and friction and water several times a day, you cut the cycle short, before transmission can occur. That’s why rates of in-hospital infection go way down when a hand-washing protocol is enforced. Urine is sterile as it leaves your body, and your penis may be clean, but your hands still need to be washed to protect your own health, as well as the health of others.

tyrantxseries's avatar

A marine and a sailor are in the bathroom. When they finish the Marine starts to leave without washing, the sailor says,“In the navy, they teach us to wash our hands,” and the marine says,” In the marines, they teach us not to piss on our hands.”

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Like @nikipedia says, the restroom is full of splatters and stuff from multiple people that grow germs which can get on you as you fumble around the stall doors, paper holders, sink handles, etc. I’ve seen horrible things, absolutely disgusting. Think about watching a man go and pick up a donut, walk into the restroom with it and come out again, piece of donut still in hand… chewing. screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

wildpotato's avatar

People get freaked out because they were raised to wash their hands after using the restroom, and to think about germs.

Supacase's avatar

@gemiwing I know the lever isn’t sterile, that is why I said I pull it before I wash my hands. The towels are wrapped in a pretty tight roll and inside a plastic case. They’re about as clean as one can hope to get in a public restroom and probably not much worse than the hand towels we use to dry our hands in our own homes.

Supacase's avatar

Also, washing your hands in general is the best way to prevent infection. You’re in the bathroom, the opportunity to wash your hands is right there. How many other opportunities do you realistically have during the day?

Ansible1's avatar

If anything you should wash your hands before you touch your wiener

laureth's avatar

I hope you don’t work with the person who asked this question.

gemiwing's avatar

@Supacase I agree they’re clean- just not sterile. I was more thinking about micro-organism movement within the bathroom (read- I was dorking out).

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

It’s disturbing that this is even a question. And it really makes me wonder how many people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. Gross! How could you not? You may not have pissed on yourself but the handle you touch to flush the toilet has been touched by people that did piss on themselves. Not to mention that most times I use a public restroom I am at a restaurant and soon after using the bathroom I will be handling food. How can anyone go eat and lick their fingers after knowing they just touched about a billion poop particles in the restroom?

jrpowell's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 :: Do you know that your nose doesn’t actually smell anything? It is a path to your tongue. When you smell a fart you are actually tasting it.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@johnpowell: I’m with you. I wash my hands if I pee on them and that’s it. I’ve learned to wash my hands when someone else is in the bathroom because people freak out way too much if I don’t. You know what? I’m one of the healthiest people I know. I am not a germophobe and I am damn proud. I believe that this taboo because, let’s face it, not washing your hands has become a social taboo is because everyone is freaked out about germs. The people who freak out because someone doesn’t wash their hands are also probably the people who don’t like to touch dogs without washing their hands or who don’t share chapstick or glasses or combs. These people also probably get sick a lot more than you or I do.

dpworkin's avatar

@johnpowell That’s backwards. You taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, but you have 350 different types of odor detectors in you olfactory bulb which can combine factorially. Most of taste is actually a smell phenomenon.

RocketSquid's avatar

Aside from what’s been mentioned here, it’s a good idea to wash your hands because the pubic area not only is one of the sweatier parts of the body, it also tends to be the most odorous. Even if you’re not sweating, and even if you yourself can’t smell it, you’re wiping your strongest scent all over your hands that other people are more apt to detect, and that’s not a good thing. Besides, I may not be pissing in my hands, and trust me, I keep a clean penis, but I highly doubt you want me to rub it all over your hamburger.

jrpowell's avatar

@pdworkin :: Got a link to back that up?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@johnpowell How is it possible that I’m tasting a fart when my mouth isn’t open but I still smell the scent? I never breathe through my mouth when in a restroom. I’d rather the disgusting smells enter through my nasal passage than through my mouth.

chelseababyy's avatar

Did you know that more germs get on you after you flush the toilet than when you sit on the toilet? It’s true. Toilet seats aren’t nearly as bad as all the germs that fly 5–10 feet OUT of the toilet when you flush.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@chelseababyy And that’s exactly why I wash my hands if
I have to touch the toilet handle. Am I crazy?! I thought most people would be on board with that.

DominicX's avatar

Dear God…all these “facts” that contradict each other…come on, people…

My heard hurts. :(

casheroo's avatar

It’s just what you do @johnpowell, geez.

chelseababyy's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 You actually touch the handle? I use TP to flush and then throw it in while it’s flushing.

casheroo's avatar

@chelseababyy I always use my foot on the handle. I’m sure that grosses people out. lol

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@chelseababyy I usually try to do the “foot flush”. But then you still have to touch the stall door handle to get out. I guess I could use toilet paper for that.

Haleth's avatar

The Mythbusters segment, Toothbrush Surprise, is really nasty. Apparently just being near the toilet means you’re fair game for fecal bacteria.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I just shift out of phase with my physical environment and just float through the stall and out.

Jeez, if people put this kind of energy into trying to, I don’t know, solve world hunger, no one would ever die of starvation…

dpworkin's avatar

@johnpowell You and I both know I don’t need a link to back that up. When It’s From The Jew, It Must Be True®

MagsRags's avatar

@pdworkin, got your back on this one
@johnpowell, about the relationship between smell and taste.
encyclopedia.com
yucky.discovery.com
newtonsapple.tv

ratboy's avatar

@chelseababyy: Flush the toilet? What are you talking about?

@pdworkin: If urine is sterile when it leaves your body, then why not just wash your hands in your urine stream?

@RocketSquid: Go ahead and rub your dick on the hamburger, chances are it’s already contaminated with cow shit.

dpworkin's avatar

@ratboy It is too good a culture medium. Otherwise, good idea. Warm and handy.

seeing_red's avatar

I wash my hands constantly, mostly because I have OCD about it.

Right now I’m really thankful to be a lesbian because I know the women I’m with do wash their hands.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ratboy – I’m confused, is his dick or the hamburger contaminated with cow shit?

tyrantxseries's avatar

lol (not safe wor work)

Val123's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Didn’t see if anyone answered your question about being able to taste the nasty, even though you had your mouth closed…our sense of smells works because we’re picking up the same molecules in our nose that determines what something tastes like. You get the molecules in your nose, and then into your mouth, and that’s what you’re tasting. It is SO gross, especially after a visit to a dirty outdoor outhouse…..

jlm11f's avatar

Ew Ry. I am with @nikipedia and @pdworkin on this one. Hi Allie.

AstroChuck's avatar

JP is one filthy em-effer.

Anonymous_Observer's avatar

I’d be more concerned about people not washing their hands after handling raw meat.

Oh wait…

dpworkin's avatar

@AstroChuck Who teaches you such language, you little fucker?

smartfart11's avatar

Haha ewww. The idea of people knowing that someone they’re shaking hands with hasn’t washed them recently really creeps people out. Including me! I don’t care what the study says, pee on hands is just plain sick.

Val123's avatar

@smartfart11 Actually, pee is sterile….

smartfart11's avatar

@Val123 Sterile or not, I don’t wanna touch it.

Val123's avatar

@smartfart11 Don’t blame you there! I just think the whole germ phobia thing has gotten out of hand (ha ha!)....

Response moderated
rooeytoo's avatar

You know I don’t much care if urine is sterile (and if it is, why are we wasting it when we could be using it to sterilize surgical instruments instead of the energy using methods currently be used, just have the surgical team have a group pee on them after the operation is completed) I just don’t particularly want to touch it or the equipment it is expelled from without washing afterwards!

Val123's avatar

I guess….well, I’m outside of my comfort zone saying this, but people who freak about washing their hands after using the bathroom…well, many of them have no qualms about performing oral sex! So…....

dpworkin's avatar

Let us be clear that urine is only sterile at the moment that it leaves your body. After that it blooms with delicious microbes.

Val123's avatar

@rooeytoo It doesn’t stay sterile after it leaves the body! But in Vietnam the soldiers would urinate in their boots to combat foot rot…well, that’s what I heard, anyway.

dpworkin's avatar

I heard Madonna peed on her feet in the shower as an athlete’s foot remedy. Sounds like urine might have anti-fungal properties hitherto unsung.

rooeytoo's avatar

So as soon as the urine meets the air it is no longer sterile therefore unless you are sticking your hand up inside your body to touch the urine, (and what a mental image that creates) that excuse for not washing is pretty much out the window. Therefore, wash your damned hands (or not, just stay away from my keyboard).

KatawaGrey's avatar

Actually, only your own pee is sterile to you. I’m not entirely sure why, probably because you already have all those little microbes and crap that are in your urine stream.

A question to the people who are so neurotic about this subject: Do you wash your hands after handling money?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I kind of see how so many guys think it’s not a big yuck to not wash their hands when they go pee because to them, the tinker is dry and not completely exposed when they take it out, maybe they don’t worry about what it absorbs from their hands as they hold it. Women on the other hand, our genitals are exposed, moist and we generally sit down/squat to pee so the chances of getting germs when we touch ourselves in undressing, sitting, wiping and then dressing seem greater.

Val123's avatar

Or opening a door?

casheroo's avatar

So, what can urine infect you with?

dpworkin's avatar

Pee-Pee Hands! Aughhhhhhh!

Val123's avatar

@casheroo Nothin’ that any other substance that is left out to rot for a long time can. The most dangerous things that poo can carry is dystentary, ecoli, typhoid and things like that and the vast, vast majority of people don’t have that.

rooeytoo's avatar

I actually am getting a little hyper about this handwashing business. I can’t wash every time I handle money but I wish I could because if you saw what I saw, yukkkkk. But I do wash before I eat for sure and I try to never rub my eyes or put my hands anywhere near my mouth.

Tink's avatar

I always wash my hands after handling money.
Just imagine, that bill could have been in a prostitutes crotch at some point.
Sick isn’t it?

dpworkin's avatar

Does that mean you wash your husband?

ooops! Of course I mean does one wash one’s husband.

ratboy's avatar

Would it help to pee on money before handling it?

Val123's avatar

@Tink1113 So….like, everytime the guy at the convenience store hands you change, you put the money away then go to the bathroom and wash your hands? And every time you get that same money out for a purchase you go to the bathroom and wash your hands?

@ratboy No, because then the money would have to be laundered and that is bad.

Tink's avatar

@Val123 I should rephrase that, I wash them with hand sanitizer. Every time. I am a bit paranoid about germs and bacteria.

MagsRags's avatar

@KatawaGrey source please for “only your own urine is sterile to you”?

Sterile means no bacteria or other microorganisms are present. The urinary tract is a closed system except for the urethra where the urine exits the body. There’s not supposed to be any bacteria in the bladder or further up.

Haleth's avatar

Whether it’s germy or not, it shows a disregard for other people to use the bathroom and then not wash your hands. Unless you’re at home all by yourself, you will come into contact with other people, whether it’s by touching them directly or by touching an object or surface that they will touch later. I don’t want to say it’s like cooties… but it kind of is. If I have to shake hands with someone that I meet, or take money or a card from someone in a restaurant because I am their waitress, I would reeeally prefer if they washed their hands after touching their private parts and random surfaces in the bathroom. I don’t care how clean it is, I just don’t want secondhand contact with some strange penis/ vajayjay. Obviously there’s no way to avoid it, but washing is just the more considerate thing to do.

I think there is less objection to oral sex for the same irrational reason. It’s easier to rationalize stuff like that if it’s someone you’re attracted to and you choose to do it. People do all kinds of contradictory stuff. Anyway, it’s really a lot safer to use a condom or a dental dam. You would hopefully not have unprotected intercourse, but unprotected oral sex is pretty risky, too! Just saying.

Narl's avatar

Why are linksys and technology some of the topics of this question?

Allie's avatar

Hi Ryan, Niki, Dev!

Ryan: A question about pee and oral sex then “Hi Allie!” What will people think of us? ;)

dpworkin's avatar

Because we all want to piss on our linksys routers?

Allie's avatar

@Narl Maybe he was cheating to get the question sent to more people.
@johnpowell Cheater…

arnbev959's avatar

I wash my hands if I go poo, but I don’t usually wash my hands after I pee. If it’s a public bathroom, I think it’s much cleaner to go in, walk to a urinal, take it out, use it, put it away, and walk out, as opposed to dicking around touching the soap dispenser, the faucets, the paper towel dispenser, and generally lingering unnecessarily in the restroom.

If I’m at home the only difference is that I flush the toilet when I’m done. But really, there are much dirtier things in my house than my penis or the handle of the toilet. The keyboard I’m typing on right now, for example. And I don’t wash my hands after using a keyboard either. It’s healthy to come into contact with germs.

I wash my hands before I prepare food. I wash my hands after I sneeze on them. (More often when I feel a sneeze coming on I manage to get to a door and sneeze outside into some bushes or something.)

My sister has a habit of touching her feet all the time. Sometimes she will pick up her foot and hold her hand on the bottom of her shoe. That’s gross. And she has no problem eating after doing this. But she won’t eat food that has come out of a plastic bag that I have taken out and offered to her, because some of my skin cells might be on it.

Val123's avatar

@petethepothead So many good points, and I’m ROFLing as I’m noting them!!!!! Thank you!

KatawaGrey's avatar

@petethepothead: Lurve for “it’s healthy to come in contact with germs.”

@MagsRags: I don’t know the source. I’ve heard it from several different people.

augustlan's avatar

In a public bathroom I always wash my hands and use a paper towel to turn off and/or open things afterward. In my bathroom at home, I only wash them if I need to… that means either A) after a poop or B) if they actually touched anything, um, wet. I have super sensitive skin, and each additional washing makes my skin that much worse. I always wash them before handling food, whether I think I need to or not. I figure that pretty much covers my bases.

MagsRags's avatar

@KatawaGrey maybe they were referring to the normal flora we’re all colonized with, on our skin and mucous membranes. Colonized means they live with/on us, but don’t usually hurt us. It’s one of the reasons hospital acquired infections can be so dangerous, because our system is having to deal with an unfamiliar bacteria.

belakyre's avatar

I think for some pervs, they wouldn’t mind if their mouths touched the shaft but they would mind if you didn’t clean it and your hands first? Just a guess.

jrpowell's avatar

Really.. Is your Penis/Girl Parts dirtier then your armpits?

Narl's avatar

How the hell did armpits come into this discussion?

mattbrowne's avatar

Except in cases of kidney or urinary tract infection urine is virtually sterile and nearly odorless.

The trouble is touching doorknobs and other parts that other people also touch with their hands, but this problem isn’t restricted to restrooms.

If you don’t touch anything it’s unlikely you catch anything that’s airborne.

Violet's avatar

EEEWWWW!!!!!! Just wash your hands..

laureth's avatar

I read this story on NPR the other day (when I was looking for something else) and thought of this question.

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