Monday, March 13, 2017

Should a bathroom door be kept open or closed when not in use?

There seems to be some disagreement on whether a bathroom door should be left open or closed when it is not in use. This can depend on the situation and location of the bathroom, but personally I think residential bathroom doors should remain open when no one is in there.

The main reason to support this is the fact that you can easily tell when the bathroom is open for use because it is clear that no one is inside. If the door is closed, it can be very hard to tell if someone is inside without knocking or calling out, “Is anyone in there?”. I don't like having to knock on a bathroom door just to find out if someone is in there. It can be even more awkward for the person inside having someone knock on the door and having to yell out, “Yes, someone is in here!”

So why would people close the door when no one is inside? I did a little research and I saw some arguments made that a bathroom is a private room and not something you really want to have on display especially when there is company over. I get where they are coming from, but everyone knows bathrooms exist. It is not something we need to hide away. If there are visitors over such as for a party, they are going to need to know where it is, and they should not have to knock to try to figure out if someone is inside.

I know if I am over at someone's house for a get together and I see the bathroom door closed, I assume someone is in there. I would guess many people would think the same thing and wait until a later time to check back to see if it is open. Then 10-15 minutes go by and you check again and it is still closed. Eventually someone decides to knock on the door or check if someone is in there and it turns out, it was empty the whole time! This kind of situation should not happen which is why bathroom doors should be left open when not in use.

Another argument mentioned is that keeping the door closed keeps unpleasant odors from going to the rest of the house. In rare cases, I could see if you might want to leave the door closed with a fan on for a while, but most of the time, this should not be an issue. If anything, keeping the door open will help ventilate it to help disperse the odor more quickly.

What are your thoughts on this debate of whether a bathroom door should remain open or closed when not in use. Feel free to leave a comment below.

5 comments:

  1. Yes, if people are concerned about smell they should clean their toilet or maybe call a plumber.

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  2. One point I'd like to add... Bathrooms are prone to mold... leaving them open will prevent that. I know someone that demands the bathroom door remain closed at all times. She has multiple reasons but none of them have value. She is likely grossed out by the sight of the bathroom when she is near it (I know- very strange, but only if you knew this person...). Bottom line is, if after a shower, a bathroom door is routinely closed, then there WILL eventually be mold in there (just as there is in my friend's bathroom). Thanks for the write-up here!

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  3. I had to google this situation because my in-laws always close the doors even when they are at my house. It's like you mentioned, how do you know if someone is really in the bathroom. At their house I've sat and waited next to the bathroom wondering if someone is inside and you're right it's an uncomfortable situation especially if someone is in there and you knock. Now the person in the bathroom feels pressured because they know someone is right there waiting.

    I don't understand the part about keeping a bathroom private because first off if someone needs to use the bathroom they are going to see it anyways and secondly people usually don't roam around someone's house UNLESS they are looking for the bathroom or maybe the kitchen so closing the door so that guests don't stumble upon your bathroom and looking inside it seems like paranoia.

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  4. I looked up this question because my wife insists on keeping the bathroom doors closed shut all the time- even after we have spent almost 35k (yes, 35k)! on renovating the two first floor bathrooms just last year.
    As an engineer, I know that keeping the doors open as often as possible will keep them ventilated and prevent molds, etc. But beyond that, the bathrooms are south facing and let in a lot of light, and especially the main bathroom attached to our master bedroom, which gives me a wonderful view of large trees in our and our neighbor's yard while I am lying in my bed.
    Hopefully this blog will help her change her mind.

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    Replies
    1. And forgot to mention that most bathrooms don't have the 'return' for the air - hot or cold - as all other rooms in the house has. This design assumes that the bathroom doors will be left mostly open for the air to return to the furnace/cooler via the returns in adjacent rooms.

      But as I said above, just common sense should prompt one to leave the bathroom doors open whenever possible - prudishness should not justify keeping them closed all the time.

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