why do Public Restrooms Have a Gap Below the Doors?

by Nabjot Kaur

why do Public Restrooms Have a Gap Below the Doors?

June 23, 2021

Have you ever wondered why the public toilets are not entirely enclosed and why the door doesn't reach all the way down? Well, if you nodded yes, then I have figured it out for you.

If you also dreaded the thought of someone peeping from underneath the door or someone climbing in from the sides, then you’re not alone. The majority of people have felt the same while using public toilets. But trust me, the gap at the base of partitions is not to embarrass anyone while handling their business in there, but for numerous other logical reasons that you’d be thankful about.

Public restrooms have gaps at the bottom for a surprisingly long list of reasons you’ll probably appreciate once you’re familiar with them.

6 Reason Why the Stalls Are Made So

1. The most common reason for public toilets not being entirely enclosed is that it helps discourage harmful and inappropriate behaviors. Because it’s a public place, it’s more prone to inappropriate behavior. While two people getting frisky inside a toilet is very common in public restrooms. Still, a completely enclosed public toilet can lead to serious crimes like kidnapping, abuse or even murder because no one really cares about a locked bathroom in public places. The gap below the doors ensures that no such activities are taking place inside of the toilets. According to human psychology, the less privacy people have, the less likely they are to engage in risky or harmful behaviors. Even if something like this is happening, people can always reach out to the victim from below or above the stall and stop it.

2. If a person loses consciousness while using the toilet or faces a medical emergency in a wholly enclosed toilet, no one would know, or no one would be able to help them unless and until the administration notices it. By that time, it would be too late to help because every minute counts. This can even lead to severe complications leading to death. The space below the door helps other people see if the toilet is occupied. Sometimes people are in a hurry to use a restroom, and in that case, it wouldn’t be feasible to knock at every door to find out which one is vacant. So, it helps save the time of both parties as no one would barge in if they can see someone’s feet inside the stall.

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The public restrooms have gap at the bottom like for many reasons like emergency access and easy cleaning.

3. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are out of toilet paper while doing their business until they need it, in which case the gap below the stalls come handy. It might get a little awkward, but you can always reach out to your neighbour to help you with the toilet paper if you’re caught in such a situation. At least you don’t have to do that uncomfortable walk out of the toilet in the middle of your business for the sake of toilet paper.

4. Public toilets with gaps at the bottom of the doors also ensure better air circulation and help prevent the smell from getting trapped inside the stall while using the bathroom. However, this doesn’t stop toilets from getting stinky from time to time, but a wholly enclosed toilet would be the worst. These toilets also ensure that people don’t block the traffic by getting too cozy inside the stall. It also stops people from spending more time than required as they feel more responsible and rushed to vacate the toilet watching visitors line up outside the bathroom for their turn.

5. The top reason for designing partially enclosed toilets is to make it easy for the staff to clean them. The gap makes it easy for them to reach out to the floor directly from below the door; it saves time and human resources, making cleaning a quick process. Another reason is, that making such partitions reduces the infrastructural and maintenance costs of a building altogether. It’s easy to fix these stalls if they suffer any kind of damages as the material used is usually lightweight and budget-friendly.

6. Apart from this, did you notice that public toilet doors always open inwards? Well, that’s not just for the designing purposes but to prevent the door from blocking the hallway. So, next time you get locked inside a public toilet, or if you feel too sporty, you can always use that gap under the door to escape it. Besides, Have you ever had any embarrassing moments inside the public toilets? Please do not shy away from letting me know it in the comments section below.


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