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Why are so many toilets in Mexico without seats?

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If you travel around the Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula you will no doubt see a lot of toilets in Mexico without seats. It may be a little uncomfortable trying to use a public toilet without one or using the hover method. Why is this? Another big bathroom question for Mexican toilets is why do you not put the toilet paper in the toilet? We set our to find the answers.

Toilets in Mexico

Toilets in Mexico with no seats

There are several factors that come into play for why toilets in Mexico have no seats. We will explain why.

  1. One factor is the fact that when toilets in Mexico are sold and installed they often do not come with the seat. This is an extra thing to purchase. It might be a saving money aspect for some and others a extra thing not needed.
  2. Another factor is the fact that we live in a warm climate. Most of Mexico is warm. Sitting on cold porcelain is in no way comfortable to do your business and a way to avoid even going to the bathroom. However the porcelain is cool in Mexico but never cold.
  3. Sanitary factors come into play as well. Have you ever cleaned a toilet seat? It has a lot more surface area on the top and bottom to clean and places for things to hideout on. This begs the question about unisex bathrooms, what do you do when you don’t have to lift up the lid to pee (for men)? Well you better have good aim because you don’t want to leave pee on the seat when people sit. So take note: if a public toilet does not have a seat, make sure you clean it or cover it with paper before sitting.
  4. Since water is of a higher mineral content in parts of Mexico, cleaning a toilet can be hard to get off those mineral deposits. Many people use muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is also known as hydrogen chloride acid. This is the yellow acid sold in grocery stores here. It works like magic on build up but also eats away at plastic toilet seats. So the thinking goes, why have a plastic seat that will get destroyed in the cleaning process?

The last factor we will consider is the age old debate of leaving the seat up. Well, if you don’t have a seat, there is no male/female debate. One of the greatest home issues solved! Maybe that is why people are so calm and peaceful here.

Why is the toilet paper put in the trash in Mexico?

The second thing that is strange to many people coming to Mexico is the fact that toilet paper is put in the trash. This confuses tourist and many of us forget to do this from time to time. Why is this done this way?

There is actually a fairly reasonable explanation for this. Plumbing is done differently in Mexico. In rural areas there are no pipes taking the waste to a treatment plant. It goes into a septic system in the backyard and the waste is held in a tank and the water is cleaned and filtered back to the ground. the toilet paper breaks down slower and over time the holding tanks become full of wet toilet paper mess. When this happens the tank has to be cleaned out so it can function better.

In cities there is a similar system except that many of these tanks are connected to a city pipe to take the waste away. So throwing paper in the toilet once is not going to do anything bad but this does explain why paper is separated. It actually makes the recycling of the water much more efficient.

Have your say! Have you used a toilet in Mexico without a seat? Do you get used to toilets without seats?

4 Comments on Why are so many toilets in Mexico without seats?

  1. Brittany Thiessen // September 20, 2016 at 2:12 PM // Reply

    I remember the first time I walked into a washroom stall in the Yucatan and found that there was no toilet seat. It surprised me and I kept trying to think of why this essential part of the toilet would be missing, so thank you for writing this article and providing some insight!

    • It was pretty confusing at first to us to. There are always interesting culture difference everywhere you go in the world.

  2. Alex Pillinger // November 25, 2016 at 4:24 AM // Reply

    Reading your site is always good for finding small details like this. Most people would not write about it. The Yucatan is an incredible place to travel and I want to come back soon.

  3. Marcia Doherty // February 7, 2017 at 6:57 PM // Reply

    I just had this experience in a Yucatan restaurant and asked this very question. The bathroom was spotless, but not a lid in sight. Further complication … none of the doors shut properly! When a senior like myself has to crouch down so far and hold the door shut at the same time, embarrassing things can happen! Also, there was no main door to the bathroom, just an entryway. I didn’t use the facilities, deciding to wait until I got back to the house instead. Not an easy decision, but I made it!

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