Welcome to the Toilets of the World
Are you wondering how to use a bidet, or even what a bidet is? Curious about what the toilets are like in other countries? Toilets from ancient history? Do you wonder who invented the flush toilet? (It wasn't Thomas Crapper!) You've come to the right place!
Belgium Bulgaria China France Greek Islands Japan Turkey Trinidad Russia and many others Toilets from throughout history:
The Stone Age Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Bible era King Arthur's England Invention of the flush toilet To the toilets of the future
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.
Turkish squat toilets are accompanied by a water spigot and a small bucket or pitcher, which for mysterious reasons is almost always red.
Turks have traditionally used water for cleaning, with tissue paper only provided rarely for drying oneself. But a recent trend has rolls of toilet paper appearing throughout Turkey.
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.
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?
Is he obsessed?
What is it like to be the Toilet Guru?
How did Yahoo describe him?
Why does this site exist?