Few activities come close to hand washing to prevent the spread of diseases and fatal habits. By the time we reach our twenties, our experience with public restrooms teaches us three facts: One, some people wash their hands after using the toilet. Two, some people do not wash their hands after using the toilet. Three, some people pretend to wash their hands after using the toilet.
These stories reflect actual events. Names were changed. The reader will find commentary here besides hand washing stories.
Ken stood among four other male teachers sharing stories and passing along the facts about aging and illness. The chit-chat among the teachers turned to their students. Neil Smith noted poor hygiene among his fourth-grade students. "Tommy Zebra's clothes were filthy and stunk this morning," he whispered.
Jack added, "I get the idea that the marines are not alone. This problem of poor hygiene and socialized toilet behavior exists everywhere."
The Men's Room
I prefer to use the men's room at the Flying J truck stops when on the road. The Flying J tends to make an effort at cleanliness and odor control. A simple, clean fragrance from a recently cleaned urinal contrasts sharply with the sharp, nasty uric acid odor I come to expect in poorly kept gas stations.
The Flying J's popularity with truck drivers grows from its efforts to keep restrooms clean and odor-free. The Flying J still needs to learn that restrooms designed without doors while keeping the user's privacy ventilate more than enough. This doorless restroom improvement improves more than those terrible odors we find in public restrooms.
Poor handwashing behavior shows why omitting doors from public and commercial restrooms would benefit public hygiene. Whether in the Flying J, Home Depot, IHOP, DMV, or other public buildings, I find the same problems with doorknobs and poor personal hygiene among visitors to the men's restroom.
Both boys and men enter public restrooms, do their business, and then walk out. Getting out means that without the doorless restroom and at least a swinging door, these offenders of public hygiene solve the door's knob with urine and fecal matter. (See my comment on biowaste and fecal mater at The Essence of Crime Scene Cleanup)
Even without trying, I witness men and boys using the restroom and walking out without washing their hands. I then must confront the doorknob; these culprits placed their soiled hands upon. Covering these handles, doorknobs, or long bent handles secured at both ends, they firmly tighten their palms and fingers over these implements. Rubbing their newly acquired germs upon their metal surfaces, they gather as many germs as they leave. New species of microorganisms now added to these door handles await for their next transfer hand, patiently, and not for long.
Here at crime scene cleanup school, we promote hand washing as a first line of defense against bloodborne pathogens, germs causing disease and death. See the crime scene cleanup book for more blood cleanup and hand washing information.