FAQ – Q16

Q16: What about public restrooms?

There is nothing likely to be on a public restroom floor that is harmful to bare feet or to someone who happens to be barefoot. Bare feet were made to touch the ground or whatever surface we’re walking on, and that surface is not required to be perfectly clean and sanitary for our feet to function properly and our bodies to remain healthy.

However, based on what many of us may have always been taught or all the anti-bacteria hype heard in TV commercials or talk shows in recent years, it’s understandable that we may feel reluctant to walk barefoot into a public restroom; but if we did, it would cause us no harm.

In fact, even if there were some theoretical potential chance of getting some infection from touching the floor of a restroom (there really isn’t, but this is just hypothetically speaking), there’d be a much greater risk if wearing shoes. Bare feet only touch the floor and nothing else. Barefooters as a rule don’t go around touching their feet with their hands, except when washing them. Shoes touch the floor and everything else that might be on the ground, yet are never washed. In addition, people touch their shoes with their bare hands as they take them off or put them back on, and then use their hands to touch everything else, including every other part of their own bodies, other people, food, eating utensils, etc. Bare feet don’t touch any of those things, so the chances of bare feet spreading any potential infection are practically zero.

The only valid reason someone would prefer not to walk barefoot into a public restroom is simply personal squeamishness, which is a normal human trait and is perfectly understandable.

But if we’re barefoot and need to use a public restroom, the most practical and safest thing to do is just to walk in barefoot, not worry about it at all, and just wash your hands before leaving. Our feet will be fine, and so will we.