Why Public Toilet Seats Are U-Shaped

There’s a good chance that the toilet seat in your bathroom is shaped like the letter O. If, however, you find yourself in the restroom of a shopping mall, there’s the likely chance that you’ll encounter a U-shaped toilet seat. So, why have two different types of seats? In 1955, a group of plumbers set the standards for public toilet seats — the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC). After careful inspection, they noticed that the front rim of the toilet was a nasty surface. Toilet water may splash on it, people may dribble on it, and who knows when it was last cleaned. They came up with the idea of a U-shaped toilet seat to give the person seated a little extra distance between themselves and the germs. This way, women could wipe themselves without coming into contact with that grossness. Since the UPC isn’t a law, there’s a chance you could find an O-shaped toilet seat in a public restroom, especially outside of the United States. For at-home use, however, the gap has little benefit, since you’ll probably clean up after yourself.