When people usually walk into a public bathroom, all they really look for in a stall is that it is clean (no one likes to sit on a seat covered with someone else's bodily fluids) and has adequate amounts of toilet paper.
Unfortunately, as we've all come to learn, this process of choosing which stall to use can sometimes be frustrating. Sometimes if the urge to go isn't strong enough, we end up giving up.
But what if I told you there's a much easier way to determine which public bathroom stall is the cleanest?
According to a number of studies, there are stalls you should avoid at all costs if you don't want a nasty surprise.
In one study, researchers looked at the habits of bathroomgoers to determine which stalls are used the most. They presented the participants with three empty stalls, and in the end they were able to conclude that most people "reliably prefer the middle one."
They also observed that the men went straight for the center stall 40 percent of the time, while women did the same 29 percent of the time.
A similar study on bathroom habits was done back in 1995 by psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld. Over the course of 10 weeks, he tracked how often janitors changed the toilet paper rolls in four stalls at a restroom in coastal California.
The results, which were published in the journal Psychological Science, showed that the middle stalls accounted for 60% of the finished rolls, while only 40 percent came from those at the ends.
What these findings indicate is that the middle stall is most likely to be the dirtiest as it is used more often than the rest.
As for the cleanest stall? The first study found that the first stall is the least used, so chances are it might be cleaner than the others.
Of course, these results aren't going to be true for every public restroom, but if you're someone who is selective about the stall you use, this interesting information could hopefully make the process a little less daunting.
If you're a germaphobe, you might want to know what the study has to say about the most hygienic option for drying your hands.
To avoid getting germs on your hands, you should use paper towels to instead of the hand dryers.
Researchers found that the bacteria count around the machines were 27 times higher than the paper towel dispensers. It is believed that the air coming out of the dryers is what causes bacteria to spread.