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Readers Respond: What Was Your Worst Public Toilet Experience?

Responses: 16


Updated October 10, 2012

From the article: How to Find a Toilet
Public toilets are at times a necessary evil. Sometimes you get lucky and find a clean restroom with private stalls and a cheerful attendant. But, let’s face it, sometimes we all are forced to use public restrooms that are a horror show -- filthy dirty, with smells that could make you gag. What was your worst experience with a public toilet? Get your revenge by telling the world!

Try Having Your Own Business

We have a business and have to deal constantly with people just walking in asking where are your toilets expecting they are just there for anyone who wants to use them, then walking out of our shop/cafe and not spending a cent. We aim to keep our toilets clean for people who spend money otherwise known as a customer. The people who come into our shop seem to have no idea what the word customer means....look it up. People need to pull there heads in and gain some common respect for other people and learn to use manners as in my case if someone greets me correctly then asks to please use my toilets I have no problem with them doing so. Its hard dealing with the public.... well some of the public.


Manila restaurants, hospitals, public schools and slum houses. make a survey of the world's 10 most dirty public toilet cities, Manila would be on it.
—Guest pep

Uh Oh

One time when I was camping with a bunch of my friends, our only bathroom was a wooden toilet in the woods a short walk from our camp site. In the middle of the night when we were all sleeping, my stomach was bothering me, and I had to go # 2. So I crawled out of my sleeping bag, gabbed my flash light, a roll of toilet paper, crawled out our tent, and quietly walked toward the wooden toilet in the woods. Halfway there my flash light went out, and I couldn't find the wooden toilet. I had to go bad, so I decided to pull my pants down and just squat and go in the dark. After I finished doing my business, I wiped myself, tossed the toilet paper, and pulled my pants up. At that point I got the biggest shock of my life. Because it was so dark, and I couldn't really see what I was doing, when I squatted, I just did it all into my pants. I pulled my pants back down and tried to empty it out in the dark, but it was too messy. I when back to my tent and back into my sleeping bag, with poopy pants
—Guest Monica

worst public toilet experience

This happened on a bus trip in Rome, Italy, 1965. It was a tour bus. Had to go #2..asked bus driver to stop as it was an emergency. There was a hole in the ground and I had to squat...I am tall, 5'10." This was the beginning of the rest of my life. Was diagnosed with IBS...irritable bowel syndrome.
—Guest gossamar

Famous Pancake House In Amsterdam

I was eating at one of Amsterdam's most famous pancake houses. The meal was wonderful but I found I had to go #2. Well they have one toilet, it's clean; but the room is so small anyone taller than 4 feet would have their knees preventing the door from closing. And in the famous dutch use of space there is a table within a foot of the toilet door which opens out. So I sit down to start "business"; immediately knees knock the door wide open. Now mind you the door has no latch or any locking mechanism, in fact the usual part that goes in the door when you turn the knob is a small roller thing on a spring that just uses the spring force to keep the door closed. so pants at my ankles door knocks wide open and I'm looking at two couples eating about two feet away from me. It felt almost as if I was at the table by how close I was to them. After a few apologies, I try again, this time spreading legs as wide as I can to minimize the length forward. No dice, same thing. Oh, that dutch use of space.

Washington Square NYC

Once while suffering from chronic intestinal distress, I had to use the public restroom in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, NY. I had never been inside, only walked by a few times. It looked scary from the outside, but inside was worse. It was actually surprisingly clean considering the hundreds of homeless people who must use it everyday. The toilets are located in the back of the room and there are NO STALLS. Four (or five) toilets in a row with nothing separating them from each other and just a single wall separating them from the rest of the room. Zero privacy. If it had not been an emergency, there's no way I would used one of those toilets. But I was about to go in my pants. I laid down TP on the rim (there was no seat) and dropped my pants and sat and had explosive diarrhea, while at least three or four guys came back to pee in the toilets. One guy saw me and immediately turned and darted away. Pretty darn embarrassing.
—Guest JDW237

The Vatican Museum

This is actually from my pre-IBS days, but my worst public toilet experience was at the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy. I was on a tour of the Museum with a group. I had developed a bad stomach ache while waiting in line to enter the Museum. Once inside, I realized I had to find a toilet--fast. I found a bathroom pretty quickly, but the toilets didn't have toilet seats! WTF! So I frantically set off thru the Vatican Museum in search of another bathroom, which surely must have toilet seats. It was a Saturday, so it was very crowded. I had to weave thru crowds and ask museum guards in broken Italian for a bathroom. I even managed to glance at a few exhibits as I made my way thru the Museum. Finally I found a men's room! Relief at last! When I got in, much to my horror, again no toilet seats! It was the one and only time I've had to crouch while having a bowel movement. I wonder if the Pope has toilet seats?

Worst loos are lacking in privacy

Unrestricted access given to male cleaners to access female loos when in use. Finding myself on my own in a MOTO service station in what was supposed to be a womens toilet facility according to signs-when a strange man entered without warning and made me feel intimidated and did not respect my need for privacy. I was distraught as I had no idea this was likely to happen. It could have been a child and he could have been a pervert, This is wrong.
—Guest Hammerji

Festival Joy

Well, I agree that SC restrooms are generally bad, bu there in NC the worst, so far, was the porta potties at the Scottish Festival. Stinky, sticky, toilet paper all over and a bunch of jerks banging on the door wanting you out in 2 minutes. Never again!

Dirty South

Due to being blessed with Crohn's Disease I have seen more public rest rooms than I care to count, However, the one I encountered recently in a popular grocery chain in South Carolina was the worst! First of all the place stunk to high heaven, second, there was a damp filthy roll of toilet paper laying near the enterance of the stall, and third there was a large brown smear of god knows what on the stall wall (I suppose the wall was used in lieu of toilet paper from the last person). I used the toilet out of sheer desperation, but hope to never ever encounter it again!!!
—Guest Kelly

In Turkey

I was in a very rural area of Turkey when we stopped for a restroom break. I went into the stall and discovered a hole in the ground, and tiny faucet and a small bucket. No toilet, no TP, no nothing else. Do you have any idea how hard it is to aim for that little hole and maintain your balance while squatting? You could hear the gasps from my friends up and down the row of stalls as they made the discovery of what a public bathroom looks like in rural Turkey. At least one of my friends had a stash of tissues, which we passed down the row. More than one person missed, had to wipe off their foot/leg etc.

Never Ride a Harley in a Bikini

Years ago, when I was young, thin and carefree, I was camping out at the Kern River with a bunch of my biker friends. I asked one of the guys for a ride to the store and away we went, me in my tiny little bikini and him looking dapper in his leathers and chaps. When we arrived at the store, I had to use the restroom, which, out in the boonies as we were, was an outhouse, of course, with no toitet paper. Well, and this is kinda gross, I had to go number two and toilet paper would have been most essential, but there was none so I just roughed it, so to speak. I finished up and walked into the store and then back out to the bike. I got on the bike and to my dismay, remnants of what I just did in the outhouse were smeared down my legs. I was never so embarrased in my life. When I got off the bike, I made more of a mess on the guy's seat and the rest is history. I cleaned it up but the humiliation still remains, and this was about 35 years ago.
—Guest Dee (not my real name)

Outhouse in the Middle East

When I was a kid traveling with my parents in a middle eastern desert region (in the summer, no less), we came to a rest area where there only "bathroom" was a small wooden shack with a hole in the ground. Period. That was it. Hot as blazes, and it stunk to high heaven. I've traveled a lot since then and had lots of bizarre toilet experiences, but that was by far the worst ever.
—Guest Nancy

Chinese Squat Toilet

On our first trip to China, we landed at the Beijing airport. I had to go - found the right door - and was astounded to find doorless stalls with just a hole in the floor - no way to flush - and no toilet paper. After that, I always carried tissue with me.

Bad place to lose your wallet

I think the worst one I've encountered was a gas station restroom in LA. Dirty toilet paper on the floor, disgusting filth everywhere, and a woman's wallet with both cash and cards on the floor! I gingerly picked it up and we turned it in at a branch of the bank on her checks, as we were traveling from another state. Second worst was the outdoor bank of johns at the airport in Pisa, Italy. They were flush toilets and water plus excrement was leaking out and running out the doors. In general, the construction portajohns I often use on daily walks are clean, have no smell, and usually have hand cleansing gel dispensers! While many disdain them, I find them cleaner than many public flush toilet restrooms.
—Guest WB

McSorley's Pub

Maybe they have upgraded the facilities, but the bathrooms used to be co-ed horse stalls! It took a lot of bad beer before I was brave enough to enter.
—Guest melanie

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