I am used to cleaning the toilet bowl with a toilet brush after use. In several hotels that I stayed in Asia there was none. I don't suppose they expect me to call the room service every time I use the bathroom.

How am I supposed to remove faeces without a toilet brush?

I wouldn't like to find a toilet in this state myself and don't want my roommate to have to tolerate this also.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 12:13

14 Answers 14


You're not supposed to do anything. Cleaning the toilet is housekeeping's job, and in better hotels in Asia it's common to have several visits per day: once in the late morning and once more around dinnertime (turndown).

  • 20
    Sure, but what if you're staying with a partner? I imagine the sight won't look too romantic.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 6:45
  • 121
    Seeing each other's poop is what true love is all about.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 6:58
  • 6
    @RoboKaren YMMV, but I usually don't go looking for romance or true love in the toilet bowl... Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 11:17
  • 36
    @problemofficer I upvoted, because - though the situation may not be to your personal satisfaction - this answer accurately captures the hotel's perspective on the matter. It's a perfectly adequate answer to the question from the "understanding other peoples and cultures" perspective. (Keep in mind this is a travel SE, not strictly a "life pro tips" SE.)
    – R.M.
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 17:41
  • 28
    @problemofficer: Your question asked "How am I supposed to XXX in country/region YYY". That is a question about the culture and habits of people in YYY. The answer "You're not supposed to XXX in YYY because ZZZ will do it" is a perfectly valid response (even if it's not the one you were hoping for :-)
    – psmears
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 10:54

If you lay down a few sheets of toilet paper across the water and inner bowl before you poop, it prevents the poop from sticking to the sides of the bowl. Obligatory emoji: 💩🚽

If it's too late and some stuck, then some wadded toilet paper on the top of disposable chopsticks serve as an impromptu toilet brush. Make sure to break the chopsticks in half after use to prevent any accident reuse unless you're a Seinfeld fan. If the 💩is on the side of the bowl and not in the water, you might not need the chopsticks at all and just the wadded up tissue works

Finally, if neither work: an extra tip in the bathroom with a note saying "sorry" or 😖in emoji with an arrow pointing to the bowl will make the hotel maid happier, although it doesn't work with roommates.

Shouldn't this be in #lifehacks?

  • 6
    This seems like an elaborate technique to solve a simple problem. Is this what everyone is expected to go through? Why don't the hotels just provide a toilet brush? Surely I am not the first one to have this problem. Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 3:35
  • 6
    Some people have stickier poop than others. And individual poop stickiness depends on what you eat and your stomach biome health.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 3:36
  • 7
    Also, draping the toilet paper only takes about fifteen seconds and you presumably only poop once or twice a day. It's hardly "elaborate"
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 7:31
  • 4
    "an arrow pointing to the bowl will make the hotel maid happier" - it's important to read more than just the 2nd half of such sentences when skimming over the text :) Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 8:03
  • 12
    If you take something that is constipating, it'll give you firmer poop and let you hold it in better. You might also want to see a doctor if you really can't hold it in for ten or fifteen seconds as I suppose you're having a lot of accidents in the street. I'm sorry.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 17:16

That's why toilets flush - to carry everything away. If it's not working right and cleaning properly, it sounds like the toilet is defective.

Ask the hotel staff to:

  • Fix the toilet
  • Or move you to a room with a better toilet (upgrade opportunity)
  • Or to provide a toilet brush (if you prefer)

If you're just stuck with the poorly performing toilet then lining the bowl with toilet paper before using it (even the "dry" side parts or wherever the problem areas are) should help.

Or use some more toilet paper and something disposable like a straw or rolled up paper to wipe it off, then throw everything in the trash.

Or maybe you're not using the right "button" on a dual-flush or electronic toilet, there could be a "heavy flush" setting you're missing.

Another idea, if your hotel has a hand-held or detachable shower head on a hose, and it's right next to the toilet you could

  • take the shower head and use it to rinse off the toilet:

    enter image description here [1]

Or, you could make a "DIY Personal Bidet" by poking a hole (with a pen/key/fork/etc) in the lid of a cheap water bottle, so when you squeeze it water sprays out, and use it to spray clean the toilet & anything else.

enter image description here

I've never heard of a toilet brush being used as "permanent toilet paper" that sits in the bathroom, to wipe up feces without any cleaner, that sounds like a biohazard. You probably shouldn't use a toilet brush without some type of cleaner / soap.

You can actually buy a Handheld Bidet Toilet Sprayer that attaches to your toilet, very similar to a kitchen faucet sprayer. I would recommend using one, instead of leaving poop on your toilet brush all the time ;-)

[ If I found a house guest had put feces on the toilet brush and left it there, I would not want that guest back in my house again, ever (and I wouldn't touch or eat or drink anything from their house - or maybe I'm a little paranoid about Hepatitis, Cholera, Salmonella, E-coli, Enterovirus, Norovirus and parasites...) ]

  • 1
    This, beyond doubt, sounds like the voice of (bitter?) experience. You have come up with more actions than I thought I had exhausted. Congratulations - this answer has taken more than just going through the motions to come up with solutions! +1 at least.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 19:07
  • "If I found a house guest had put feces on the toilet brush and left it there, I would not want that guest back in my house again" When I was taught to use the toilet brush, I was also taught to rinse it after use by flushing the toilet. I would find a (visibly) soiled toilet brush very troubling, but little more than I would a visibly soiled toilet.
    – owjburnham
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 17:46

If no toilet brush is provided, you are expected to not clean the toilet yourself.

Hopefully I can provide some context that @jpatokal alluded to in their excellent but succinct response. This situation is highly relevant to both the culture where you're staying and the quality of facility you're in.

In America, lower- and middle-class hotels generally provide some manner of "do it yourself" cleaning utensils, like a toilet brush or cleansing spray. Upper-class hotels and resorts very often do not provide these tools. At these facilities, the expectation is that guests shouldn't worry about cleaning up after themselves*. Places that don't provide any tools compensate by having more frequent housekeeping visits and generally higher-quality fixtures that are less likely to accumulate your waste. Other countries I've been to have more or less followed this trend, to varying degrees depending on wealth & culture.

Ultimately, this sounds like a clash between your own cultural expectations about bathroom behavior and those of the place you're staying. You asked how you are supposed to remove feces when not given a brush; the simplest answer is that you are not supposed to. Your hosts suppose you wouldn't do that sort of cleaning yourself.

If you're using shared facilities, I suggest following whatever the local protocol appears to be. Regarding longer-term roommates, consider that they will have their own cultural expectations and plan accordingly. I wouldn't find it unreasonable to have a quick "how we clean the bathroom" talk upon moving in, and you can always provide your own brush at that point if your habits differ.

If you create a particularly toxic mess, @RoboKaren had some great suggestions. Most toilets provide a simple way for you to hold the lever a bit longer for a better rinse, or you can flush multiple times if needed. And ultimately, if you still feel obligated to clean up after yourself, you can certainly request something from housekeeping be provided for you. Keep in mind that this may be seen as rude or particularly out-of-place in some places. Imagine I went to Berlin and asked for chopsticks with my bratwurst - I'd probably get the chopsticks, but I'd also expect some raised eyebrows! :)

*: Personally, I'm not a big fan of this attitude. It's not uncommon though. :(


A little crude but, if you are a man, hold some pee back and then use it as a jet wash.

For either sex, fill a glass of water and pour it on the mess. Holding the glass higher provides better cleaning power but requires a good aim.

  • 1
    Not very well but the water from a height trick will sometimes work a little below the surface. Otherwise, you have to wait a bit and reflush. With good timing, you can pour the water midflush while the level is down.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 17:14
  • 3
    Remains underwater will eventually flush away. Just close the lid and forget about it.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 21:05
  • 21
    I am embarrassed that in my first day in this site, I get most of my reputation by giving advice about poo.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 21:34
  • 1
    @badjohn since you answered a question about poo, that seems to be a self-inflicted injury. Not gaining rep for talking about poo is extremely easy. Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 22:24
  • 2
    @DanNeely i responded to other topics as well.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 22:29
  1. Wash hands.

  2. Flush the toilet (more than once if there is a mess).

  3. Wipe away any remaining mess with some folded moistened toilet paper and dispose of paper in the toilet bowl.

  4. Wash hands again.

  5. Flush the toilet and check if it is clean.

  6. Repeat previous steps as necessary.

  7. Close the toilet seat.

  8. Wash hands again.

  • 1
    A little too "hands-on" for me, but it would get'er done! +1
    – Xen2050
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 8:33
  • 2
    Too much handwashing going on for me. 1 and 5 don't seem very useful. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 10:04
  • @MartinSmith 1/ Is to prevent transferring bacteria from your hands to the toilet flush mechanism. 5/ is to flush away the paper from step 3. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 10:07
  • 2
    Sorry I meant 1 and 4. I assumed that was the reason but unless you sanitise the flush routinely and assume everyone else is also washing their hands before using the flush I don't see the point. Best off just assuming it is contaminated and making sure you wash your hands thoroughly at the end. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 10:11
  • @MartinSmith That's also an option. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 10:12

Put some toilet paper over the poop stains, making sure that the toilet paper also touches the water. The toilet paper will soak, keep the poop wet and absorb it. On the next flush, a little while later, most, if not all the poop will go the way of the dodo.


Many (most?) Asian hotel toilets have a nozzle on a hose for rinsing yourself off with (also called a bidet shower). I prefer these to toilet paper myself. They can be used to wash down the toilet bowl after use; indeed, they are more suited to this task than a toilet brush.

  • He said "many" though @RoboKaren and "many" do, not in China (where they invented TP) or Japan maybe but in just about every other Asian country water is indeed used instead of toilet paper and that goes from Turkey all the way through the Middle East all the way through South Asia, and all of SE Asia down to Indonesia. I have lived in Asia for almost a decade and out of 20+ Asian countries I have been to, every single last one of them used water for ass-cleaning EXCEPT China (I have not yet been to Japan).
    – Ivan McA
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 5:49

A much simpler solution than any of the prior answers, and one which often works for solid waste blockages as well, is to pour warm water down the toilet.

  • 8
    "Honey, are you making tea?" - "No, I am just cooking some water to remove some poop I just left in the toilet bowl." - "Oh!" Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 17:12
  • 4
    @problemofficer if the hotel doesnt have a hot water tap in the bathroom, I'd probably find somewhere else to stay anyway :)
    – user29788
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 17:13
  • How is warming water to pour in simpler than laying a little T.P. over it? And how hot must the water NOT be to avoid cracking the china?
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 21:03
  • 2
    @WGroleau the porcelain should take well above boiling, its not an issue, especially if you just use whatevers coming out of the tap. And this way you don't risk blocking the toilet with paper. If you have to actually warm your water yourself, pick somewhere a bit classier next time...
    – user29788
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 21:49
  • I would say half the hotels, hostels, and private homes I've been in in three years of traveling (ten countries) either have only lukewarm water or a heck of a long distance from the tap to the water heater. Laying a couple of squares over it to keep it wet does not risk clogging the toilet. Not even in south America
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 0:23

Prevention: flush once or twice to wet the bowl, chances are now none of the poop will stick.

In case of sticky:

  1. small: flush a few times

  2. medium: bottle with single hole and manly squeeze on the bottle. your pee mostly won't be enough, but beer addled bladders can give a try

  3. large: you didn't wet the bowl before. Flush a few times before trying the second option.


If this is a worry, use the public toilet in the lounge rather than the one in your room.

I also wonder if readers are interpreting the word in the same way. When I was in Asia, it was common to have a hole in the ground but no “throne”. And people's aim was rather bad — I could not ring myself to use either of the toilets on the train because the smell was overwelming and there was poop all over the floor around the hole.

So maybe your situation is more serious than what readers are supposing?


Preventive flushing before taking poop makes sides of the bowl wet, so poop sticks to them less, and flushing is easier. So with any luck, one or two flushes will clean the bowl, including any poop on walls.


What's the problem, it is your poop, you already wiped it off your backside ... didn't you?

So wrap some toilet paper around your hand, plunge it into the bowl, wipe it clean, wash your hands ... don't you?

If your companion has left poop smears in the bowl, you do not need to worry.

If your companion has left actual poop in the bowl, flush it away and don't worry.


If the toilet is stuck and you do not have a toilet brush you can save the situation. You may use an empty bottle of water (1 liter or 1.5 liters). I was amazed how it can replace the brush in Asia. You can throw the bottle in the trash after the use. Once it has saved me in Beijing.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .