The Bathroom Stall Nearest To The Door Is Used The Least | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Are You A Germophobe? This Is The Cleanest Toilet Stall You Can Visit

Bathroom politics are an absolute minefield. Finding a urinal position that guarantees you won’t invade the personal space of those around you, standing or sitting to pee, and avoiding any eye contact at all costs are all situations that can add up to create an environment of anxiety.

However in an aide to ease some of the pressure, scientists have continued their endeavor to make our important life making decisions a little easier.

It’s often been theorised that the bathroom stall that is closest to the door is used the least of all the stalls, meaning it remains the cleanest. The theory goes that men naturally head for the furthest stall in an attempt to maintain anonymity and find privacy.

Further support for this theory revolves around what is called the ‘centrality preference’, a psychological phenomenon that suggests people head to the middle option when presented with multiple choices.

When looking for research into the topic, it turns out that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of the popular TV series Myth Busters officially tested this theory with conclusive results years ago. According to the duo, the stall closest to the door is officially the cleanest, by a whopping 44 per cent.

The lads created a test environment that included 4 bathroom stalls, each thoroughly sanitized and numbered 1 through 4, with stall 1 being closest to the door, and stall 4 the furthest away. During the course of their research, 119 men passed through the bathroom doors, with only 23 of those opting to use the first stall. By comparison, the second stall received the most visitors, with 38 registered, certainly proving the theory of ‘centrality preference’ in the process.

When taking swabs following the experiment to identify bacteria levels on each toilet, the stall closest to the door only returned 162 bacteria colonies, while the third stall had the highest concentration of bacteria, with 290 colonies.

Interestingly, the highest traffic didn’t return the highest level of bacteria. Furthermore, despite only one more user in the fourth stall (24), there were a reported 231 bacteria colonies. Perhaps those who chose the furthest stall have dirty business to complete?

Have a look at the Myth Busters’ results below. Either way you interpret their findings, one thing is clear; if you’re after the cleanest loo, stick to the closest stall.





23 people

162 colonies


38 people

267 colonies


34 people

290 colonies


24 people

231 colonies

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