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Airplane Bathroom Hygiene Tips

Ways To Stay Well When Flying

Airplane Bathroom Hygiene Tips

The Skinny:

Air travel has lost a lot of its luster—if it had any—over the last 20 years. Increased security, smaller seats, delays, unruly passengers and, of course, concerns over cleanliness all contribute to the problems. Perhaps airplane toilets epitomize more than anything else what’s troubling about the unfriendly skies. They make things worse for all passengers because they are seen as overused, small and presumedly not terribly hygienic. Airlines admittedly try to keep their lavatories clean by servicing them thoroughly after each flight. But when you’re dealing with hundreds of millions of airline trips each year in the U.S. obviously those airplane powder rooms can take a hit. Using one of these toilets are one time or another is difficult to avoid, especially on long flights. But you can stack the hygiene factors in your favor. Here are some tips. Read on.

The Slate:

Don’t Drink the Water

Airlines are required to provide safe drinking water, but one water quality analysis found that the water in several major airlines’ bathrooms was contaminated with E. coli and other coliform bacteria. The lack of a “water not potable” sign doesn’t guarantee that sink water is safe. Request bottled water for drinking, tooth-brushing or even washing.

Grab Your Sanitizers

Hand washing is almost reflexive these days after a bathroom visit. But, some experts warn that washing up in non-potable that may be found in airplane bathrooms isn’t an effective way to ward off germs. Regardless of whether the water is supposed to be clean, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after a visit is a better option. Sanitizing wipes are also helpful for cleaning up bathroom surfaces, armrests and seat trays.

Mask Up

One recent study advised that wearing masks in any public washroom should be mandatory. This warning is especially true for airplane bathrooms, which are more dangerous than most due to tight conditions, poor ventilation and heavy use—increasing the risk of exposure to airborne germs and fecal particles. N95 or KN95 masks are the gold standards.

Don’t Hog The Potty

Common-sense courtesies go a long way to helping everyone stay healthy when it comes to airline lavatories. Among other things, this means giving priority access to the elderly, children or those in obvious need. It also means not staying longer than necessary and not using the bathrooms for illegal activities like smoking, vaping, wardrobe changes or the “mile high club” meetings. Men should also aim carefully or sit when using the toilet and everyone should clean up after themselves.

Don’t Touch

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency require airlines to clean and disinfect bathrooms between flights, which includes wiping down surfaces, fixtures and amenities. But that doesn’t guarantee a deep cleaning and it doesn’t prevent new contaminations once the airplane is airborne and passengers start visiting these lavatories. This is why it’s important to use hand sanitizers and wipes and avoid directly touching door latches, flush handles and of course, the toilet seats.

Timing is Everything

Timing is everything in life and this is especially true when it comes to visiting an airplane bathroom. If possible, it is best to avoid them entirely. The odds of encountering a clean toilet, however, are much higher in the early part of a flight, just after the seatbelt sign goes off and before the beverage service.

Eyes Up:

Do you have a tip for airplane bathroom hygiene? Let us know at info@wellwellusa.com.



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