Ever Wondered Why Public Toilet Seats Are Usually U-Shaped?

Know why you sit on a U!

Ever Wondered Why Public Toilet Seats Are Usually U-Shaped?
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Most of you must have noticed that almost all the public toilets have U-shaped toilet seats. While at home, we have ovular or closed seats but this is not the case with public toilets.

Ever wondered, what could be the reason for the same?

Even the internet has been busy musing one of the great mysteries of the world: Why are the toilet seats in public bathrooms u-shaped while the ones we have at home do not have the gap at the front?
As with many such a conundrum, answers have been plentiful, but accuracy has been in short supply. To save you from having to wonder about this burning question, we have researched the matter thoroughly and can now bring you the definitive answers.
Oh, and by the way, during the investigation we also discovered that approximately 14% of phones have poop on them because people use them on the toilet. 

So, if you are reading this while hiding in the bathroom, please, don't forget to wash your hands and your phone afterwards!

Toilet seats at home

Toilet seats at home

Well, at home we have nice, ovular and comfortable seats. But they are completely different from the one we use in public restrooms. Just a mere glance at public toilets have provoked you to think for the reason of the same. Now, these interesting reasons will either amuse you with facts or leave you feeling eerie at the end. So move on and read on!

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#1) It has to meet code

#1) It has to meet code
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An organization named as International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, or IAPMO for those of us who haven't got all day, sets out toilet seat code. 

Now, that's right!

Now, that's right!
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That's right, your toilet seat design is the result of the collective knowledge of the IAPMO which does not hold any regulatory power but individual states tend to adopt the code word for word.

#2) A treat for the ladies

#2) A treat for the ladies
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The primary reason for that gap at the front of the seat is so that women can access the parts they need to wipe more easily. Nobody wants to catch the back of their hand on a public toilet seat, now do they? 

Boss, privacy matters

Boss, privacy matters
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I am sure, you all will agree with me. Privacy and hygiene for women should be the centre of all public washroom design, except maybe this one.

#3) A no splash zone

#3) A no splash zone
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The oval shape of the toilet seat means that the front section can be prone to backsplashes of urine. By eliminating this section of the seat, there is no area for backsplash and subsequently, germs to gather. 

This has added advantage too

This has added advantage too
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Well, it reduces the surface area for cleaning. Alternatively, men, allegedly the biggest culprits when it comes to the backsplash, could use this washroom.

#4) Funbits free from mingling

#4) Funbits free from mingling
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Nobody wants their most private bits and pieces accidentally mingling with those of a few strangers. 

No worries...

No worries...
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Well, this gives you room to sit down without worrying about whose bits and pieces might have slid across the front of the seat before yours.

Keep reading, the others are interesting too.

#5) The cheap seats

#5) The cheap seats
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Of course, economics always comes into the equation. By making U-shaped seats, manufacturers save money by using fewer resources. 

Saves good amount in bulk.

Saves good amount in bulk.
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This might not seem like a big deal for one or two seats, but if you can use around 20% less plastic for every seat you make then that's, um, a lot of plastic when you are making 10,000 seats a day.

#6) The dubious reason

#6) The dubious reason
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First of all, some people claim they are more ergonomic, making the public seats more comfortable which don't make much sense. Do you know why? Well, the reason is worth agreeing.

It makes no sense

It makes no sense
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Surely, you would want the most comfortably shaped seat at home where you might spend some time sitting, hiding from the world? Nobody wants to spend an extended period sitting on the toilet in a public restroom.

#7) It prevents theft

#7) It prevents theft
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Well, this is dubious again. But the research suggests, U-shaped seats are made to prevent theft. The theory is that they are obviously from public washrooms and would therefore not fetch much on the high-value international toilet seat in the black-market.

However, I doubt!

However, I doubt!
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If someone was desperate enough to buy a cheap, second-hand toilet seat, I doubt the fact it came from a public restroom would bother them.


Updated by:

Sakshi Kasat

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