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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?

12 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.

    • When we visit Mazatlan, the hotels we staybinnhave toilette seats but most of the bathrooms outside of the tourist areas do not. I use to think that it was because residents from surrounding areas stole them and installed them on thebtoolettes in their homes.

  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!

  4. It’s simple. They’re too cheap to put a seat. Same idea with the smell of sewage gases in the washroom. They just needed to put a u trap in the drain. Stops gases from getting out. But often not installed obviously. One less thing to do and pay for. That’s why USA and Canada have standards and codes to follow, otherwise it would be same here

    • Actually many places have traps but they are not very efficient. There is a different type of trap used. A u trap does not work as well here since many floors are cement and spaces between first and second floors is less.

  5. Trying to make this gross 3rd world aspect of seat-less toilets and putting used TP in a trash can ‘quaint’ because you’re a traveler makes me never want to go to any of these places.

    • Mr.Yucatan // March 3, 2019 at 11:33 AM // Reply

      There are things that are different in every country in the world. If you want to limit yourself to only visiting places that do things you way, well that will limit you. Understanding why things are the way they are is key to understanding, helping or adjusting our thinking. Just because some people cannot afford a toilet seat and cannot afford a waste water plant, but handle real life problems in a manageable way is your reason for not visiting, so be it. But you should know this is not all parts of the Yucatan or Mexico.

    • Margaret Ana // April 1, 2019 at 1:48 PM // Reply

      Then you should just stay home if you feel that way and leave The traveling to us more adventurous types!

  6. As Mexican, I definitely prefer toilets without a seat. I learned keep my butt just high enough as not to touch the seat. We call this position, agility which means little eagle. When I was a child I climbed the toilet because my legs were not long enough to let me seat in aguilita positionIt is a way of preventing any infection, or pick up germs from the previous person. Then it is much easier to clean, because there is no need to wipe the urine that accumulates under the seat and all around the hinges.

  7. Most of the time, a bare rim will be sprinkled with urine from the most recent male user. In rural areas, flushing means throwing water into the bowel, which sometimes splashes more urine on the rim. Also, splashing the bowel after #1 doesn’t fully flush it — it dilutes the urine. So the next person doing #2 will get diluted urine of the previous person splashed up on them.

    A seat-less toilet invites small children and elderly to accidentally fall in.

    The men of the households who are too lazy to install a seat do not leave disinfecting wipes for other members to use. That includes men who went to the US, saw a more sanitary system, and came back. They just don’t care.

    Also, ask a doctor about pinching the thighs on a seat-less toilet or, alternatively “hovering”. Neither is desirable and has long-term health risks.

    Gross and dumb.

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