Without wanting to sound chauvinistic, careful observations have shown men’s anatomic design to be tidier with the use of the toilet than women. However, some men have imbibed a culture of irresponsibility which makes them believe that whatever they do with their waste is exclusively their business and no other’s. Such men create eyesores with their effluent which they discharge into public space without caring about other people. This situation is prevalent in school hostels, places of worship and even residential neighbourhoods, where the toilets bear the most evident exhibits of these dirty manners.

When toilets go bad, hygiene is compromised, ultimately creating health risks which, if not life threatening, may spell doom for one’s pockets. Since the health bill resulting from poor toilet manners is borne by all those who share the toilet, knowledge must also be shared on the subject. The “culprits” should be educated about the need for proper hygiene and how diseases, with the aid of vectors, can spread rapidly through an entire population because of the negligence of just one person who may not even be within the immediate environment.

Also, since outward behaviour is often a function of ingrained mindsets, there is a need to inculcate the right values into the younger generation. They should be taught how to make proper use of the toilet such that whoever uses it after them does not have to deal with the footprints of bad toilet manners. A very important part of this is knowing how to make proper use of soap, hand sanitisers, electric hand dryers, towels, toilet paper and even the water closet.

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The water closet is composed of the rigid foundation and support, rim, seat flap, basin with lid, cistern, refiller tap with running water, and the washing brush which is often excluded for its detachedness. The brush is actually one of the most important components as it could provide additional assistance when normal flushing fails to send some “belligerent” forms of excrement down the drain.

Worthy of note is the need to disinfect the toilet’s residual water with an antiseptic. This is to guard against the splatter of unpleasant residual water, onto the bums of the toilet user. When an antiseptic is not available, or when its efficacy is in doubt, you may put some toilet paper into the residual water to serve as a buffer against the splatter of water.

Apart from avoiding the splatter of waste water in a public toilet, you should also endeavour to completely avoid direct contact with the toilet seat. It is not enough to clean the toilet seats with a roll of tissue paper as disease pathogens are extremely evasive to cleaning. In a bid to maintain the least possible contact with the toilet seat, some guys are in the habit of squatting on the toilet rim. However, this is not only barbaric but also hazardous and it may end up being fatal if the ceramic gives way to the pressure it was not designed to bear.

After voiding, it is healthier and more thorough to clean up with soap and water after using tissue paper. And used tissue paper is not meant for the waste basket; it is to be flushed down with the effluents. Hand washing with soap and water is the highest form of personal hygiene, preventing the most evasive of pathogens. Hand washing should be followed by hand drying which is best done with the electric dryers before leaving the toilet. The use of towel in public toilet should be highly discouraged because, more often than not, it holds pathogens in reserve for the next user.

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Lastly, it is an abuse of manhood to think that men have an exclusive privilege of standing or squatting by the road side and “doing their thing” rather than having to use a toilet. This is seldom the case with ladies. Even though we think they are generally weaker and more fragile than the menfolk, ladies have generally disciplined themselves enough to resist giving in to the inconvenience of bowel movements in the public. Why don’t we men, who are supposed to be stronger, show at least the same measure of discipline?


Photo credit: Hinrich Bäsemann/dpa/Corbis