Part 10: Organizing Chaos – Toilet and Personal Hygiene

Part 10: Organizing Chaos – Toilet and Personal Hygiene

Good morning you guys. Today organizing chaos is focusing on the place of our house, in which cleanliness is the most important, yet avoided in discussions. I feel blogging gives me the liberty to enlighten important issues which are normally overlooked.

Gorgeous washrooms can be so refreshing

The significance of keeping toilets clean can never be underrated. A person can breathe a healthy life while keeping a disorderly bedroom, dressing room and lounge. But if he/she is careless in the washroom, it can affect his/her health inversely.  A person can easily catch bacteria, virus or bugs if the toilet isn’t kept clean.

Universal toilet sign
It is indescribable how some people abuse public toilets. Since I moved back to Pakistan, I have been going to sightseeing trips with Discover Pakistan and Nature Explorers. These trips are incredible except for one big problem. The public toilets. If a person is out from 6 am till 9 pm, it is natural to use the loo at least once.  In most areas in Pakistan, public washrooms are a catastrophe. Unfortunately, despite their ghastly condition, at such times, one is desperate. I thought my worst toilet experience was from Islamabad zoo, but the one in Kacheri at Kotli Satiyaan proved me wrong.
 Hotel washroom
That was when I promised myself that the only way to enjoy such trips is not to have any water the whole day long (except a few sips while trekking). This really is a serious issue. I’m waiting for the right opportunity to convince government authorities to introduce a fee system in all public toilets across the country. It will be a nominal amount (like Rs. 20) but that will ensure cleanliness. This will also reduce disease and joblessness which are widespread in these rural areas. Honestly, I would happily pay even Rs.150 to be able to use hygienic toilets while traveling. When I’m away from home, I am being extra cautious not to fall sick, so even the sight of nauseating toilets is enough to put one off during such otherwise happy days.

    Howdy in F-7 has this poster in its toilet

One of the funniest airplane orientation videos I have seen in my life was from Pakistan International Airlines. I was in my sad moods flying back to London from my homeland Islamabad. The video showed that forks, spoons and Pepsi glasses are not to be thrown in the toilet flush. That really cracked me up.

I am not indicating in any way that only Pakistani’s are notorious in the toilets. Although it seems to be true in case of public toilets, it is definitely not true on domestic level. For over two years, I had the chance of sharing toilets with people from almost all major nationalities in the world. I realized that so many educated foreigners use toilets like animals literally. I was the doomed Pakistani who was seen with rubber gloves and bleach, cleaning the fungi off floors and walls as no one else gave a damn.

 My current washroom
Swiss public toilets were the most hygienic washrooms I’ve ever seen in my life. Their state-of-the-art technological flushes worked like robots. The moment I pulled the button, detergent was sprayed around the seat, an automatic sponge appeared and cleaned the surface, and to top it off, a little wiper emerged and removed any traces of soap adding to the sparkle. While I starred at this astonishing piece of machinery, I heard a little thush and smelled refreshing scent that was released automatically. Although swiss public toilets cost around 2 francs, but they are definitely worth it.

A page from my travel journal with toilet voucher for drinks
The Germans have a really witty marketing campaign for their public washrooms.  They charge about 0.70 Euros. When you pay, you receive a drinks voucher which gives you 50 cents reduction on your next drink. Who can resist such a tempting offer specially when your stomach is now relaxed. So you grab a juice, coffee or two. When you do drink though, you have to use the loo and there you go again buying yourself some more drinks from your free vouchers. So it is a vicious cycle.  


 Close up of german toilet ticket which gives drinks voucher

It’s interesting how many of us don’t bother about some of the most important aspects of cleanliness i.e. oral hygiene. One of the worst impressions one can give each other is by bad breath or body odor. Fresh breath is not only important for your self confidence, but is also vital for relationships. Oral hygiene is essential to prevent dental decay and gum disease. With proper daily use of dental hygiene tools, a low level of oral bacteria can be easily achieved. This will result in a reduction of bad breath, in fewer cavities and in a healthier gum tissue that does not bleed. Studies have linked poor oral health with cardiovascular disease, lung infections and even cancer.

I feel we waste hours watching pointless videos on YouTube, where as we can not even spare two minutes for learning the proper way for something we do twice a day. Its amazing how a minor change in our daily tooth brushing routine can make such a huge difference in our lives and make our partners’ lives more pleasant. Here is the link for proper tooth brushing technique.
Oral B-BrAun electric toothbrush
In 2009, a dentist recommended Oral B electric toothbrush to me. I have been using it since then. It gives me the confidence and that dentist clean feeling – everyday. I would highly recommend it. It beeps after 2 minutes so you know exactly how long you must brush. All of us who use an electric toothbrush should watch this video to know the proper technique. In order to maintain a check on our breath and bacteria, a tongue cleaner, mouthwash should be part of our daily brushing routine. Once a week, dental floss and interdental brushes can also be used for additional cleanliness.
 My old handbags on rod for personal items in the washroom
Body odor is another tacit topic. Unfortunately, because we avoid talking about it, there is no one to let such people aware of it. I have worked in a company for some months, where my office was in the basement. The moment I would enter it, it actually smelled of horses. I struggled to breathe so concentrating on my work was far-fetched. Its tragic that you can’t even tell the culprits why they are making your life so miserable and causing you so much inconvenience just by not keeping themselves clean. If only, we all had the sense of rinsing ourselves, using a reliable antiperspirant deo, and wearing clean clothes everyday, this world would be a breathable place for all of us. Many of us forget that only applying perfume will not cover up the underlying cause. 

My shower area
If you wash your toilet yourself, make sure you use rubber gloves, and proper cleaning equipment. Two of my favorite toilet items are the following. Both of them have a coloring like blue, purple or pink which makes the water change its color and gives a very clean look and smell:

– Toilet rim block

A toilet rim block is a block-shaped substance used in flush toilets which slowly dissolves in water. It often comes in a small holder that is attached over the rim of a toilet and hangs down into the bowl. So, as the toilet gets flushed, the water passes through the holder coming into contact with the block. This block has detergent contents in it which cleans, the flush automatically and gives a clean scent to your washroom. It also avoids stains from forming around the water level.

Toilet cleaning tablet

It is a drop-in tank tablet which can be used for any accessible cistern. It works from inside the cistern to release a dose of powerful detergent with every flush. Distributing the liquid across the bowl, it helps you maintain a hygienic and deodorized toilet and prevents the build-up of stains giving you a continuous clean toilet.
Harpic  Flushmatic Auqamarine
  • Provides continuous cleaning
  • Easy to use with no mess
  • Cleans with Blue action
  • Lasts upto 1 month depending on usage

While taking a shower and enjoying the warm water on your back, its a good idea to arrange your shampoos and shower gels. Just as it is in any other room of the house, washroom aesthetics are also important. Interestingly, that’s where a persons mind is most active. For pleasant thoughts, one needs pleasant surroundings. I’m born in an artists house where all toilets have at least two paintings, flower pots, candles and magazine racks.

Our powder room with mamas paintings
I finally gathered the guts to write on this topic. Some of these points are what mothers normally tell their kids. And no one else dares to speak of them. But I hope I didn’t offend any of you readers out there. Consider this as a public service message. It was only meant for information, not to point at anyone. I’m glad its done and dusted now, so we can move on to more comfortable posts on this blog. Coming up next on Organizing Chaos would be Phone, PC and DVDs. Stay tuned. 
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8 Replies to “Part 10: Organizing Chaos – Toilet and Personal Hygiene”

  1. Very well written. I know its a topic which is not spoken about much, and yet is one of the most imp topics regarding cleanliness. Great efforts. Shakeel

  2. On a recent trip I used a squat toilet for the first time – it is very interesting to note the differences around the world on this topic.
    Also, in all wet areas it is important to look out for and get rid of mould as this can be very harmful and toxic for ones health.
    Well written article, thanks again for bringing these basics to light.

  3. It is an interesting topic, people do have terrible experiences when they use public toilets. It requires both citizens and government to make the efforts in order to achieve a better toilet environment. Governments should spend the tax payers' money right to get the right facilities like government in Swsistherland, and also people also should have the a sense of responsibility to care the others. There chances come across when people finish using toilet, they make a big mess, because they don't reckon that they will use the same toilet again. So this little selfish action makes the situation bad. People should care about others. ZhanZhao Dong

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