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Toilets of the World

Wipe or Wash?
Paper or Water?

"Squat or sit?" is probably the biggest toilet question for international travelers, especially for Americans. That may be the case partly because Americans don't even know that they need to also ask this question: What do the locals use to clean themselves, and therefore what will they provide for me: Toilet paper or water?

Imagine that you are an American traveling overseas.

You check into a hotel, only to discover that you don't have a shower or tub in your room. Nor is there one down the hallway.

Quickly, you go back downstairs to the front desk.

You inquire at the front desk about where you should take a shower, and the desk clerk is horrified that you would want to do such a thing.

You are told that what you should do is rub dry paper all over your body. That is the very best way of getting clean. Spraying water on your body would be a dirty practice! Don't behave that way in our hotel!

OK, now you know how everyone else feels when they hear an American say that toilet paper is extremely clean but using water is a filthy practice.

Read more about cleaning yourself with toilet paper and water »

Today's Featured Toilet
This bright blue bathroom is upstairs at the Be My Guest hostel in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Notice the glass counter and stylish vessel sink.

Do you know how Bulgarian toilets are labeled as women and men in both Cyrillic and Latin script? ЖЕНИ or МЪЖЕ? D or M? Learn how to choose the correct door and avoid embarrassment!
Check back tomorrow for another featured toilet!

221 days until Thomas Crapper's birthday

280 days until World Toilet Day

Welcome to the Toilets of the World, where you can view toilets from all around the world. Are you wondering how to use a bidet, or even what a bidet is? Curious about what the toilets are like in a specific country such as France, Turkey, China, Greece, Japan, or many others? Would you like to see some of the worst toilets in the world? Or maybe you're interested in historical toilets, from ancient Greece and Rome, or even the Stone Age? Do you wonder who invented the flush toilet? (It wasn't Thomas Crapper) You've come to the right place! The Toilets of the World are ready for your visit. Learn about toilets, bidets, urinals, sinks, tubs, and other plumbing from all around the world.

Tour the Toilets!

Keep This Book In Your Bathroom

Rose George's The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters is a fascinating description of sanitation conditions around the world. To quote from the introduction:

[....] 2.6 billion people don't have sanitation. I don't mean that they have no toilet in their house and must use a public one with queues and fees. Or that they have an outhouse, or a rickety shack that empties into a filthy drain or pigsty. All that counts as sanitation, though not a safe variety. The people who have those are the fortunate ones. Four in ten people have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket, or box. Nothing. Instead they defecate by train tracks and in forests. They do it in plastic bags and fling them through the air in narrow slum alleyways. If they are women, they get up at 4 A.M. to be able to do their business under cover of darkness for reasons of modesty, risking rape and snakebites. Four in ten people live in situations where they are surrounded by human excrement because it is in the bushes outside the village by in their city yards, left by children outside the backdoor. It is tramped back in on their feet, carried on fingers onto clothes, food, and drinking water.

[....] Poor sanitation, bad hygiene, and unsafe water — usually unsafe because it has fecal particles in it — cause one in ten of the world's illnesses. [....] Diarrhea — nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water — kills a child every fifteen seconds. The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade [1998-2008] exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.

Test your lavatorial knowledge with our new  toilet quizzes! 

Quiz #1: International Toilets Quiz #2: Flying Toilets
Who is the Toilet Guru?

Who is the Toilet Guru? Is he obsessed? What is it like to be the Toilet Guru? How did Yahoo describe him? Why does this site exist?
Read more

Let's visit the toilets!