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What are the Best – and Worst – Public Toilets in the World?

What are the Best – and Worst – Public Toilets in the World?

A new study has revealed some of the best and worst public toilets across the world for when you’re desperate to go.

Everyone knows what goes on in a toilet, but that doesn’t mean we want to see it. In fact, a messy one is often enough to make you think you don’t actually need to go at all.

So, the study by online leading bathroom retailer Victorian Plumbing ranked the public toilets based on their average Google rating (out of 5) of their cleanliness from their users around the world – and the results were surprising!

The Cleanest Toilets in the World

For people in Singapore, hygiene seems to never be a problem. Their public toilets receive an average rating of 4.04 stars out of five for their cleanliness (yes, toilets are rated), with staff on hand to keep them looking shiny and fresh. Many toilets there bring elements of nature inside, with plants helping you relax as you do your business. They also feature automatic technology, meaning if you ever forget to flush, the toilet will do it for you.

Germany isn’t far behind. In the city of Hamburg, public toilets get a rating of 3.94 stars, with their designs being just as impressive as the streets around them. It’s common in Germany to spend up to a Euro in order to use the facilities, with the majority of this money going towards the toilets’ upkeep.

Completing the cleanest top three is a country known for its toilet technology: Japan. Their toilets are so well looked after that they’ve even introduced transparent cubicles to let you see how clean they are before you step inside.

Don’t worry though – before you use their 3.69 star rated facilities the cubicle will become opaque, stopping your private time from becoming a tourist attraction.

TOP 10 PUBLIC TOILETS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
Rank Country City Avg. Cleanliness Rating
1 Singapore Singapore 4.04
2 Germany Hamburg 3.93
3 Japan Tokyo 3.69
4 Japan Yokohama 3.52
5 Canada Toronto 3.52
6 Spain Madrid 3.40
7 Canada Ottawa 3.39
8 Italy Rome 3.36
9 France Paris 3.34
10 China Beijing 3.32

Dirty business – France’s facilities fall flat

If you’re bursting in Marseille, you might want to hold on a little longer. The French city’s public toilets only score 2.8 stars for cleanliness, while many don’t even have toilet seats, this is done to prevent the build-up of bacteria.

Venice comes in second place. The city famed for its canals isn’t as well known for its other waterways, scoring only 2.93 stars for its dirty loos.

Another classic European city finishes off the bottom three for cleanliness, this time Barcelona. Scoring only 3.05 stars, the Spanish city can consider itself averagely hygienic, which isn’t something you really want a toilet to be described as.

North Carolina has the most unhygienic restrooms

With a population of over 328 million people, there’s no surprise there’s an abundance of public toilets in each state across the United States. Unfortunately, not all of those are celebrated for their cleanliness – Charlotte in North Carolina has the worst rated public restrooms out of almost all 50 states.

With an average rating 2.81, you might want to cross it off your road trip bucket list to make a stop there.

However, coming in top, with almost a full 5 star rating is Nashville in Tennessee with 4.7, so now Tennesseans can pride themselves on their love for country music as well as their immaculate public toilets.

What About Ireland?

Alas, Ireland didn’t feature in the survey – but given that public toilets are as rare these days as hen’s teeth, maybe it’s because they just couldn’t find any?

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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