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Bathroom Door Etiquette

 
 
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 10:40 pm
I've noticed something interesting over the years.

In North America (especially in the USA) it is quite common to leave bathroom and/or toilet doors ajar when the room is not in use. It tells one at a glance whether the bathroom is occupied. In many European homes, however, the tradition is to keep bathroom doors securely closed at all times. I think this is probably a heritage from the days when 'water closets' were malodorous places and one sought to keep unpleasant odors out of the rest of the house.

But today, of course, what with sachets and aerosol sprays a bathroom generally is a very pleasant smelling place. And modern interior decoration has reached such esoteric heights that there are people actually eager to show off their lavatory facilities before showing a visitor the rest of the house or apartment. So there's no need to hide that once semi-secret any more, is there? Or is there?

What's your opinion on this?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 22 • Views: 22,089 • Replies: 49
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ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 10:49 pm
@Merry Andrew,
There is also the matter of having the cat trap itself in the bathroom (I've heard stories).
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 10:51 pm
Hah! I definitely try to keep all our bathroom doors closed. I don't like the
doors open or even ajar. Even in the office, I go around closing the bathroom
door.

The Chinese believe that bathrooms should be outside the house as they're
not auspicious. Of course it's not possible in most cases, but every feng shui
book will tell you to at least keep the door shut and the lid closed.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 10:52 pm
@ossobuco,
So, then, I can put you down as being in favor of leaving the door ajar, Osso?

(My cat has gotten trapped in the tool shed out back a couple of times, never in the b'room [so far].)
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 10:57 pm
@CalamityJane,
Yeah, the Japanese have a similar custom. Here on the island of Hawaii, there are still a number of houses, known as "plantation houses", dating back to the days of sugar cane and citrus fruit plantations. They were built for primarily Japanese laborers. In every case, there is no bathroom on the living level, unless the house has been rehabbed and the plumbing updated. Bathing and all other bathroom activities took place at a lower level.

BTW, I am a firm believer in always closing the toilet lid (not just putting the seat down), but I do tend to keep the doors ajar.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 11:07 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I leave the door to the guest bathroom off the living room closed, and leave the doors to the bathrooms in the bedrooms open.

I thought this was going to be about whether you close the door when taking a leak or not (with guests yes, without guests no).
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 11:16 pm
I found it amusing in Ireland. Not only did they have doors separating every room, even hallways... they had a lock and key on every door. They never took the key out of the hole, not sure why it was necessary.
I keep all the doors open unless someone needs the privacy.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 11:22 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I believe the cat named Dante has been trapped thus..

I don't have a cat. I keep the doors slightly ajar, most of the time. I don't have scads of guests. I also have a very diminished sense of smell (and fairly clean ways almost because of that). In the master bedroom, aka computer haven, I often keep the bathroom lights on and the door open after dark, until I retire, for improved lighting.

As far as visiting other people's houses, a closed guest bathroom door always gives me a bit of a pause, as in, will this be a surprise?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 11:26 pm
@ossobuco,
On doors in general, I have four in my garage - having taken them off because it's a small house in which I live alone and I get irritated by always opening and closing doors.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 04:13 am
Door left ajar; closed door means it's occupied.

Rule works well with the grandkids.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 04:23 am
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:

I found it amusing in Ireland. Not only did they have doors separating every room, even hallways... they had a lock and key on every door. They never took the key out of the hole, not sure why it was necessary.

Doors separating rooms ... well, you reduce the heating costs, for instance.

With the keys, I /we do the same: thus, you don't loose the key ... and easily know, which key belongs to what door/lock.

I/we close the bathroom/toilet doors always.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 04:33 am
Most bathrooms and water closets built in the United States, whether new construction or renovation, after the era of the Second World War have "exhaust fans" in them, so there isn't a problem of odor. If you grow up in a house full of people, as i did, then you learn to leave the door ajar because with so much use, it is important to know if the room is occupied.

I have never yet been in a house in Canada, including those newly renovated or built, which has an exhaust fan in the bathroom.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 04:33 am
Oh, and putting the seat down--that's a political issue, at least in North America.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 04:46 am
We rarely close the bathroom door. It's wasted effort.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 06:34 am
@Merry Andrew,
We also have the closed if occupied, ajar if not rule. It seems pretty widespread but since I can't knock and find out if someone is inside, it's doubly important for us. (At some point early in our relationship E.G. closed a bathroom door; I thought he was inside, he was actually elsewhere. I waited, legs crossed, for a VERY long time for him to come out [there was only one bathroom].)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 06:36 am
@Setanta,
no fans - but they all have stack vents

door open - always - drives me nuts when w.c. doors are closed if they're not in use
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 06:38 am
@Walter Hinteler,
but why are there locks that need keys on room doors within a house? I can see a few rooms needing privacy, but generally it's open season - I'd probably take most internal doors off their hinges if I had the energy.

(another maddening thing)
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 06:52 am
@ehBeth,
Thieves. Insurance thing. (lowers the insurance fees quite a bit.)
Feeling more secure.

Historically, however, it's just because several parties lived within a house, without being separated by halls, storeys etc and thus privacy was kept. (Mainly towards servants and in-laws, I think.)
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 07:01 am
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:
And modern interior decoration has reached such esoteric heights that there are people actually eager to show off their lavatory facilities


my aunt and uncle sent photos of their w.c. back to Germany in about 1960 - evidence they had their own facilities here - huge pride!
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 07:03 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Locks on bathroom and kitchen doors lowers insurance premiums there? hunh. You'd probably see an increase here as it would be considered a safety hazard.
0 Replies
 
 

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