Do Women Care More About Clean Restrooms Than Men?

By: Briana Smith, Social Media & Product Branding Specialist, WAXIE Sanitary Supply

A thought occurred to me this weekend as I caught a snippet of the television program Bar Rescue, do women care more about restroom appearance than men? Bar Rescue is a reality show highlighting a bar or nightclub that isn’t very successful. A team of professionals surveys the situation in order to diagnose & resolve the problem(s). At this point in the show, Jon Taffer, host and bar/nightclub consultant, had already pointed out sanitation issues with the main bar & food preparation areas, spotlighting the owner of the bar. From there, he moved onto the women’s restroom to discuss the cleanliness.

I don’t remember the conversation exactly, but it was along the lines of, “You won’t get any women in your bar if the bathrooms look like this.” In response the owner just sort of stood with a blank expression on his face. Taffer continued with disgust and irritation in his voice, “You can’t even tell that there’s something wrong with this bathroom, do you?”

Of course there are two things that can be addressed in my paraphrasing: 1) the conditions of the restrooms, and 2) the implication that women care about said conditions more than men.

First off, as a woman I do take public restroom cleanliness with a combination of hopefulness & trepidation. Will the restroom be clean or wretched? I’ve covered how I feel about this subject in a couple of other blog articles: Public Toilet Seat Sanitizers – Do They Work or Is It Peace of Mind?& Would You Pay $1 to Use a Clean Public Restroom.

As such, I can only imagine the general state of those restrooms if cleaning is subpar, never mind adding alcohol to the mix. All I can think of is sticky, icky, and gross. I wouldn’t even want to touch the sink faucets with a 10-foot pole! Lots of bacteria, grime and organic material can build-up rather quickly in restrooms used by numerous people and aren’t cleaned very well or regularly. Bar restrooms also have the potential for harboring additional organic materials associated with excess alcohol consumption that I wouldn’t exactly want to come in contact with…

Restrooms can sometimes make or break a business, especially a restaurant, as Jon Taffer pointed out. Repeat business is crucial, as is word of mouth. No one is going to want to go spend a lot of time at a place that is not clean in general, perhaps with the exception of a dive bar. However, be aware that a dive bar also must be inspected by a state health inspector if food is served. If I were deciding where to go and someone mentioned that a place had bad bathrooms I’d definitely rule it out of the running and spend my money elsewhere. Bad bathrooms are memorable, and not in the way you want them to be.

On the flip side, a restaurant restroom can also be a selling point. I recently went to a cocktail bar for my birthday celebration with a couple of friends and we spent 5-10 minutes discussing not only the interior décor of the bar inspired by a vintage drugstore/pharmacy, which was awesome by the way, but we also talked about the floors in the restroom. They were so unique and cool that one of my friends even went back in to take pictures of it! The ‘tile’ of the floor consisted of nickels with some sort of epoxy coating to set them in the floor and provide a smooth surface for cleaning. One of my friends was extremely impressed that all of the nickels were perfectly spaced from one another.

Another thing that I found interesting while watching that scene on Bar Rescue was the lack of follow up in the men’s restroom; they didn’t even discuss it, not even in passing. Perhaps I missed that part, although I highly doubt it. Men’s restrooms don’t seem to be a popular topic of daily conversation, and it made me wonder if most men care that much about restroom cleanliness.

So I took a very informal & unofficial poll with a handful of my male coworkers, and while most considered restroom cleanliness to be of importance, they felt that in general it was a lot more important to women. Some were more aware of restroom conditions due to it being an occupational hazard. One of my coworkers brought up a good point – if the restrooms are in terrible shape it makes one consider the condition the food preparation area is in. Thanks for participating in my survey guys!

What do you think: do women pay more attention to restroom cleanliness? Should men care about it more? Would the restroom condition cause you to not frequent a restaurant? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.