There’s actually a reason why public toilet seats are U-shaped

Have you ever noticed that the seats on public toilets look different from the ones we have at home?

Not all of them, but many are shaped like the letter U.

I’ve always wondered why only public toilets are designed like this, but I’ve never gotten a good answer.

But you’re about to find out…

Why are public toilet seats U-shaped?

There are actually several reasons why the toilet seats in public bathrooms are often U-shaped.

One reason is said to be because of plumbing rules. In California, toilet seats are mandated to be “open type.” The law was introduced in 1955 in the American Standard National Plumbing Code.

National Institute of Standards and Technology via Wikimedia Commons

Designed for hygiene

But there are also other reasons. The main reason that toilet seats are U-shaped concerns hygiene.

First, U-shaped seats are supposed to give guys extra space so their “family jewels” don’t touch the toilet seat. The construction also minimizes the chance that urine splashes on the seat.

The second reason is for the ladies. U-shaped seats make it less likely that women accidentally touch a dirty toilet seat while they’re wiping.

Wikipedia Commons

They keep thieves away

In addition to being hygienic, U-shaped toilet seats are cheaper to manufacture, since they require less material. This, in turn, makes them cheaper to buy.

U-shaped seats are also less attractive to thieves. The idea that anybody would want to steal a toilet seat boggles my mind, but apparently it happens.

But because U-shaped toilet seats don’t fit toilets at home, few people steal them.

Even if you’ve never thought of this before, I think you’ll agree that it was fun to learn the reason behind U-shaped toilet seats.

What you do with the information, I’m not sure. But it could be a good conversation starter. Or not …

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