You might think that the doors of public toilets don’t reach the floor so that people can look underneath to see if the stall is occupied, but there are actually several valid reasons for this gap. Bright Side takes a crack at explaining those reasons in their recent video, “Why Doors in Public Toilets Don’t Reach the Floor.”
One reason is in the case of someone having a medical emergency while in the stall. If the door reaches all the way to the floor, the person having an emergency may go unnoticed. Additionally, with a gap between the floor and the door, emergency responders don’t have to break down the door to get to the person; they can just reach underneath to open the door. Or, should you get trapped when the lock breaks, you can easily exit if needed. And yes, having that gap does let you know if the stall is occupied even if there isn’t an emergency, which can help prevent embarrassing situations as well as lines.
Ventilation in any bathroom is a must, but perhaps even more especially in public restrooms. If the door were to reach all the way to the floor, then ventilation is stymied—and you can guess what the olfactory ramifications of that would be. There’s also a monetary benefit for not having the doors reach the floor. Shorter doors cost less to make and less to install. Additionally, the shorter doors provide less privacy, which discourages people from doing dastardly deeds because they think they can’t be seen. Plus, that openness keeps people aware of others waiting to use the stall.
Finally, there are cleaning benefits accompany the smaller doors. Janitors can simply slip their mop under the door instead of opening it. Plus, power washing bathrooms wouldn’t be possible if the doors reached the floor. The video also takes a look at why doors open inward—safety, ventilation, space control, privacy, and other reasons.
If you didn’t know, or if you had your suspicions, now you have all the reasons why a public bathroom door doesn’t reach the floor.