Consummate dilettantism!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Are Squat Toilets More Hygienic?

This is certainly the claim. Is it true? In a theoretical sense, perhaps; when you use a squat toilet, your buttocks don't make contact with a seat, and feces leave your anus more easily. However, if you've used a squat toilet in a poor country before, you'll quickly see that this is outweighed by several other factors. Tissues must be disposed of in the trashcan, so fecal matter is more likely to be present on the floor and walls. (This also contributes to a terrific smell in most squat toilets. In rural areas, there are no drains in the toilets/troughs, so feces just built up and are cleaned at the end of the day -- I can only imagine what these places smell like.) You're more likely to miss when in the act of defecating. Also, your clothes have a good chance of touching the floor. Most squat toilets, then, are not especially hygienic.

However, there are some nicer squat toilets in wealthier countries like Japan, which leads me to believe that a lot of the problem is that the toilets are in poor countries, not that they're more disgusting by design (save for the clothes-touching-the-floor bit).

Also, there's some evidence that squat toilets are healthier to use, so the verdict is still out (at least in my mind!) as to which type of toilet is superior.

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