Toilets Around the World

In general, toilets are not exactly glamorous, but they’re something common to all cultures even if they don’t look the same in all cultures. With November 19th being World Toilet Day, we thought it might be interesting to learn more about toilets from around the world.

Fancy toilets

Our western-style sit-down toilets can look pretty fancy for placement in an upscale bathroom, but looks aren’t everything and Japanese toilets take things to a whole new level. They are much more feature-oriented and offer several engineered benefits over the regular American toilet. These include:

  • Heated seats. We love them in our cars – we’d probably love them in the bathroom, too.
  • Spray cleaning. You get spray cleaning as well as a bidet function. Not only that, but the water temperature is adjustable, and so is the water pressure.
  • Air deodorizer. It goes without saying that this can be a useful extra.
  • White noise. For the audio privacy of the user, this function can be triggered when you sit down, or press a button.
  • Auto lid and seat. Never face the inconvenience of a lid (or seat) up again – these models are programmed to lift and lower, so you never have to touch a lid, or remember to close it.
  • Temperature timer. It’s always good to save energy, so a special toilet timer can be set to have your seat warm in the morning, but cold while you’re away during the day.
  • Night light. No stumbling around to find a midnight throne.
  • Air dry. Better (and more sanitary) than paper, these toilets are equipped to air dry your affected areas. They can even offer warm air or cool air, depending on the season (and the programming).
  • Self-washing bowl. Just push a button and the toilet cleans itself. Best thing ever.

Toilets that have no seat

On the other end of the spectrum is the humble squat toilet. This style takes care of basic functionality only and usually consists of a bowl or pan that is installed at floor level making it necessary to squat. In these situations, people often use water from a spray hose or bucket to clean themselves rather than toilet paper. This type of toilet is common in many areas in the Middle East.

Squat toilets are also common in China, except in hotels that cater to western travelers. Sometimes these even lack bowls or pans, and just present as a simple hole in the floor. Privacy is not particularly guarded, and many toilets in China are also without doors or even walls.

In most African countries, especially sub-Saharan rural areas, squat toilets are common, when there are toilets at all. In extremely rural areas, people relieve themselves outside, sometimes in pits, sometimes anywhere.

You’ll also find squat toilets in Greece, Romania, and Turkey and in fact they are sometimes known as “Turkish toilets.”

Pull cord toilets

In western Europe you’ll find American-style porcelain toilet seats, although you’ll often see a wall mounted tank with a pull cord instead of a seat tank with a handle. This usually indicates an older toilet installment, as these styles were popular in the Victorian era. However, the high-tank toilet is making a comeback in new bath construction and remodels in the U.S. People are charmed by the vintage look as well as the water saving flush capabilities.

Flying toilets and sea-faring toilets

Modern air travel calls for an efficient way to process waste when people are flying. Airplanes today use Teflon-coated bowls to capture waste, then a strong suction to pull it into a holding tank. When that tank is full, it is emptied at an airport.

In space, there’s no need for a white noise function because there’s no sound without air. However, because there’s no air and no gravity space toilets rely on vacuum pressure to haul away and dispose of their contents.

Toilets on boats require a complex pump and valve system that must carefully expel waste without allowing the intake of seawater onto the boat. Submarine toilets are even more complicated closed waste systems because the sub is under such tremendous pressure. It takes even more complicated engineering to push waste out of a submerged toilet.

Standards of hygiene, plumbing systems, and sanitation systems vary widely from one place to another, but here in Florida if you have trouble with your plumbing (regardless of what toilet you have installed) you can call on the certified plumbers at Lindstrom to provide professional and emergency plumbing service.