Why Are Public Toilet Seats U-shaped?

Have you ever wondered why toilet seats seem to be different from public bathrooms apart from what you have at home? In public, toilet seats always have an open U-shape. At home, toilet seats most often have a closed O-shape. The difference seems pretty cut and dry.

But is there actually a logical reason behind it? There are lots of myths about why public toilet seats are U-shaped. We’ve decided to bust those myths and talk about the real reason behind those toilet seats U-shapes.

The myths

A lot of people have been asking themselves about this whole toilet seat situation. There are a lot of different answers to this U-shape dilemma. Some people have argued that the U-shape toilet uses less material, and so is less expensive to produce. Others argue that there is less of chance that your privates will touch the seat, causing you to contract a venereal disease. It has also been argued that the U-shaped seat is easier to clean. Although there may be some truth to all of these answers, none of them have actually been confirmed.

The truth

So what’s the real reason behind those U-shaped toilet seats? Hygiene! And more specifically, women’s hygiene. The U-shaped toilet seat is required by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. The choice was due to the fact that women can wipe the seat after using it, without actually touching it. It also benefits men, as it is a less area that urine can be, and that men will less likely touch with their privates.

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Where is the U-shaped toilet seat?

In the U.S., it is a strict requirement to have either the open front toilet seat or a seat with an automatic cover. Although it’s not actually a law, it seems to be adopted in the majority of public bathrooms in the U.S. and in many places around the world.


Should the U-shaped toilet be adopted around the world? Does the explanation for it really make sense? The alternatives may be that there are no toilet seats at all. So, we guess we’ll take a U-shaped toilet seat for nothing at all!

Now that we’ve solved the U-shaped toilet seat myth, let’s talk about those luxurious toilet seats. Did you know that in Japan, it has been increasingly popular to use high-tech seats known as Washlets, which has an integrated bidet? There are also seats that are heated, and have blow driers. Talk about a royal treatment!