Is Japan’s custom of folding the toilet paper into a triangle for the next user unsanitary?

10:32 cherishe 0 Comments

Sure, it looks nice, but at least one hospital thinks it’s hiding a gross, unhealthy secret.

Japanese society preaches the importance of being considerate to others, especially in public facilities. One of the characteristic courtesies you’re likely to encounter in Japan is going into a public restroom stall and finding the end of the roll of toilet paper folded into a triangle.

This is something that’s regularly done by custodians when they’re done cleaning the restroom, as a sign that everything has been scrubbed and tidied up. However, the custom has partially seeped into society at large, and many Japanese people will fold the triangle into the sheet after they’re done using the bathroom. It’s a nice aesthetic touch, and it also makes it easy for the next person who comes in to easily unspool the roll.

However, not everyone thinks this bit of would-be hospitality is such a great idea. Japanese Twitter user @Lhn_087 was recently in a hospital bathroom and snapped this photo.

The text translates as:

A request to patients

Please do not fold the toilet paper into a triangle.

If you fold the toilet paper after going to the bathroom, but before washing your hands, there is an increased chance of spreading bacterial infection through bacteria and microbes present in fecal and urinary matter.

As alluded to in the warning, individuals who fold the triangle go through the following sequence: sit down on the toilet, do their business, fold the triangle after using the toilet paper, leave the stall, and wash their hands. No one goes back into the stall to make the triangle after scrubbing their hands with soap and water at the sink, so they’re doing all that folding with any bacteria they picked up during their post-waste-expulsion wiping still on their fingertips (or, in the case of more explosive expulsion, perhaps an even more expansive area of their hands).

Granted, this is more likely to be a medical issue with a hospital toilet, which is ostensibly being used by patients with a variety of medical conditions, than the toilet at a Shinjuku department store or Mos Burger branch. Still, although it might not look as nice, leaving the toilet paper unfolded is probably the smarter move in protecting the stall’s next occupant from the gross things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Source: Hamster Sokuho
Top image: ©SoraNews24