11 Facts About Toilets

The John. The commode. The loo. The throne. We’re not sure if it is something that’s unique to the English language, but we sure do come up with a lot of words that all mean the same thing. We think it makes the language more fun and a delight to work with from a writer’s standpoint. Anyway, beyond all the funny names you may be able to come up with for the toilet are a world of facts that you probably didn’t even know. With any luck, you’re reading this as you sit on the toilet right now! You know that’s what the tablet was invented for, right?

1. Tooty Fruity


We all know that quality time spent on the toilet sometimes results in a poisoning of the atmosphere that is probably capable of killing small animals. But you probably didn’t know that the first efforts to snuff out this problem have been traced back as far as medieval times. Yes, even the ancients struggled to find a solution that would keep their bathroom area (if they even had one!) springtime fresh. They used things like cloves and pomegranate to fashion their own air fresheners.

2. Pick and Choose

The very first toilet in a line of bathroom stalls is likely to be the least used and therefore the cleanest of the bunch. We’re not sure how long this will be the case now that the cat is out of the bag, but take advantage of it while you can!

3. Delicate Nazi

You would not expect this from one of Hitler’s top henchmen, but the man who was once the second-most powerful man in Germany had a bottom that was too delicate for standard-issue bathroom tissue. Instead, the fearsome creator of the Gestapo used soft white handkerchiefs.

4. Toilet Terror

There are many ways to define toilet terror but this one is more of a historical oddity. The movie Psycho was the first one that actually showed a toilet being flushed. It caused a bit of an uproar at the time because, as we all know, none of us ever actually use toilets, and that’s especially true for beautiful women. These days, a flushing toilet in the movies or on TV doesn’t even cause a minor tremor on the outrage scale.

5. How’s It Hanging?

What may be a bone of contention in some households is whether the toilet paper roll should be hung on the dispenser with the end flap hanging in front or behind. Believe it or not, someone actually conducted a study here in the United States (probably paid for by the government) to determine which way was most popular. The answer to this burning question that has plagued mankind for thousands of years is that 75 percent prefer to have the end flap hanging in the front. The study was said to have cost around $100,000.

6. To Go or Not to Go

Research from the year 1992 concluded that Great Britain had the worst public toilets in the world. Runners up included France, Greece, and Thailand.

7. The Reading Room

Perhaps the widespread adoption of the written word has something to do with this. It is estimated that the average person spends approximately three years of their life sitting on the toilet. For some reason, we expect that there’s a significant variation in the real numbers when comparing men and women. Frankly, we’re too fearful of the result to undertake our own study of this. Perhaps someone from the government would be interested.

8. Hazardous Handles

While most of us probably believe that the toilet bowl and the floor immediately surrounding it are the most germ-invested and disgusting area of the bathroom, that reputation may not be deserved. In fact, it’s the flush handle that may be the worse offender, with some of them hosting up to 40,000 germs per square inch!

9. Cheap Fix

With record use of pharmaceuticals in the western worlds these days, we’re seeing an increasing number of them showing up in sewers. A multitude of drugs including painkillers, antidepressants, and antibiotics are being discharged along with our waste. So if you happen to be seeking a cheap high… Well, maybe not.

10. All Dressed Up With No Place to Go

In many rural areas of undeveloped countries there simply are no toilets. It’s not hard to imagine how this particular problem is dealt with or if those affected even consider it a problem, but we choose not to dwell on it for the time being.

11. When In Rome…

The ancient Romans were renowned for their ingenuity, including the construction of an elaborate sewer system. Unfortunately, they didn’t invent bathroom tissue so they were said to have used a moistened sponge on the end of a stick.