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146 votes
Accepted

Why can't I wash away soapy hands?

Soap is mostly a chemical called sodium stearate that is moderately soluble in water. In pure water it dissociates into positive sodium ions and negative stearate ions, and the negative stearate ions ...
John Rennie's user avatar
100 votes
Accepted

OK, we are all adults here, so what is a bidet for and how do I use it?

Bidet Who Are You? The bidet is a sanitary installation which looks like a shallow toilet bowl with water taps. The purpose of the bidet is to clean up after you've done what you came to do in the ...
JoErNanO's user avatar
  • 52.7k
92 votes

OK, we are all adults here, so what is a bidet for and how do I use it?

I'm Portuguese and every bathroom has a bidet. Only the really small ones don't. It is something I find in European countries with Latin roots (specially Portugal, Spain, France and Italy). From ...
Edu's user avatar
  • 1,011
82 votes
Accepted

Why can't we use the toilet when the train isn't moving in some countries?

I don't know specifically for the country you are in, but in many countries, this is because the toilet empties directly onto the tracks, even in countries with relatively modern trains. Even in the ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
  • 12.2k
81 votes

How am I supposed to keep a toilet bowl clean without a toilet brush?

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 ...
lambshaanxy's user avatar
  • 99.5k
78 votes
Accepted

My seatmate has digestive problems causing unpleasant smell. What ought the cabin crew do?

Passenger to Purser Excuse me sir but someone here seems to be having a flatulence problem which is making me feel unwell. Could you please shift me somewhere else so i can enjoy the rest of my ...
Hanky Panky's user avatar
  • 32.9k
75 votes
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Is it safe to drink the water from the fountains found all over the older parts of Rome?

Ah, the large noses. I did last year. Had no issues. There are approximately 2,500–2,800 nasoni in Rome, supplying citizens and tourists with free drinking water. The water coming from the ...
Mark Mayo's user avatar
  • 160k
74 votes
Accepted

So what can I do to avoid being "that" passenger with bad hygiene?

Lots of options! Starting with the ones that require no forward planning: Just lock yourself in the toilets for 10 minutes and wash your... smellier parts using your hands, sink water, soap dispenser ...
user56reinstatemonica8's user avatar
56 votes

Should I put toilet paper in airplane toilets?

Should I put toilet roll in airplane toilets? YES. Airplane toilets are designed to take the toilet paper provided by the airline. The sign is to inform you that nothing other than the provided ...
DTRT's user avatar
  • 32.7k
54 votes
Accepted

Taming the nightmare of public toilets in the UK

There is a website that I was hitherto completely unaware of that aims to cater for this need. Great British Public Toilet Map For tourists with smart phones it would be useful as it geolocates the ...
Martin Smith's user avatar
  • 1,024
52 votes
Accepted

OK, we are all adults here, so how do the doors and controls work on an airplane toilet?

Airplane lavatories can be a bit tricky to use if you're not used to them. You may also find one of the many videos on YouTube on this topic, such as this one, helpful. First, the door usually has an ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 86.3k
49 votes

What can I do if I'm seated next to a person with bad hygiene on an airplane?

Well, the solution is an ointment with menthol/eucalyptus. Pathologists are using Tiger Balm, the red variant and apply it under the nose to suppress...well, I think I do not need to explain that. ...
Thorsten S.'s user avatar
  • 16.6k
48 votes

OK, we are all adults here, so what is a bidet for and how do I use it?

Edit: Since I've discovered that the "Number two" euphemism isn't global, I'll add here that it means defecation, and comes from the fact that "poo" rhymes with "number two". It's a common euphemism ...
Jon Story's user avatar
  • 1,101
46 votes

How am I supposed to keep a toilet bowl clean without a toilet brush?

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 ...
RoboKaren's user avatar
  • 16k
44 votes
Accepted

Male using change tables in female restrooms in Japan

It is quite rare these days (even inside trains) for the changing tables to be in the women's section, usually they will be somewhere in between the two sections, or inside the separate large restroom ...
fkraiem's user avatar
  • 12.6k
42 votes
Accepted

What's the easiest way to relieve oneself in a car?

Bring a towel or blanket, some baby wipes, and optionally a small trowel or a stick you picked up along the way. A few small plastic bags are also helpful. If someone (especially a small child) can't ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
  • 80.7k
39 votes

My seatmate has digestive problems causing unpleasant smell. What ought the cabin crew do?

Unfortunately this is mostly a case of bad luck. The usability of your mom's seat was significantly reduced but in a manner that's mostly subjective. That leaves it in the discretion of the crew and ...
Hilmar's user avatar
  • 103k
38 votes
Accepted

Is this sign in a Mongolian airport saying you can dispose of toilet paper in the bin?

No; this sign means you have to use bin for disposing of toilet paper. I used Google translator to translate the text on signs: 2nd sign means "Don't forget to flush". 3rd sign means "Use trash bin ...
Neusser's user avatar
  • 6,976
37 votes

As we are all adults here, how do I politely indicate that I need the toilet?

In the United States, the more polite terms I hear are usually either the restroom or the ladies' room/men's room (always including room). Washroom sounds Canadian to me. British terminology (such as ...
Scott Severance's user avatar
36 votes
Accepted

How do you use a traditional hot-air hand dryer so your hands are actually dry afterwards?

Shake your hands to remove as much water as possible. Hold one hand with the back of the hand close to the air stream until it is dry. Swap hands, dry the back of the other hand. Rub your hands ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 476
36 votes

How am I supposed to keep a toilet bowl clean without a toilet brush?

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 ...
Xen2050's user avatar
  • 757
35 votes

Taming the nightmare of public toilets in the UK

Toilets are important, but not something to worry about. You don't need to make it this complicated. British people really don't mind when foreigners ask where is the nearest public toilet? We don't ...
Harry Vervet's user avatar
  • 1,780
34 votes

What can I do if I'm seated next to a person with bad hygiene on an airplane?

This happens periodically, and you can politely and privately bring the problem to the attention of the cabin crew during boarding, before the aircraft door is closed, especially if the odor is so ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 86.3k
31 votes

How do you use a traditional hot-air hand dryer so your hands are actually dry afterwards?

My experience is that you don't use them. They work poorly, which is why they are generally being replaced with newer more efficient dryers or removed altogether. In theory, you can use them by ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 86.3k
31 votes

What's the use for this shower drain cover?

Having lived in Texas, I would use that to keep out scorpions, which can crawl up drains and even survive the water coming down them. Though I'd also change the strainer to a different design that a ...
Michael Hampton's user avatar
30 votes

My seatmate has digestive problems causing unpleasant smell. What ought the cabin crew do?

After my mom's Air Transat flight took off, her seatmate started to fart stinkingly. She can't tactfully complain to the cabin crew, as her seatmate'd know that she snitched on him. But it was ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
29 votes

How am I supposed to keep a toilet bowl clean without a toilet brush?

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 ...
Alex Martin's user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

What's the use for this shower drain cover?

The device is a universal drain stopper. It is designed to keep water in a bathtub or sink. Because it works by sitting on top of the drain, it is not necessary for the consumer to worry about the ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 135k
26 votes

Long road trips in Iceland - where to relieve ourselves?

There are obviously a lot of gas stations along this road too, some of which have restrooms you can pay a little to use. See hours on the linked page as well. These are frequently treated as public ...
Mark Mayo's user avatar
  • 160k

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