Public Toilets, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Public Services II
Public Toilets

Public Toilets
Public toilets (restrooms) in the United States vary widely. You can use most of them without paying a fee. Be careful about using the restrooms in railway stations, though airports are fairly safe and clean. After using the facilities, wash your hands carefully with soap to protect yourself and others against disease. American often use euphemistic terms when describing these facilities. My least favorite is “comfort station.” A highway rest stop in Connecticut I know has a “Canine Rest Area,” which, in New York State, would simply be called a “Dog Walk Area.”

In the middle of large cities, hotels are the simplest places to find a clean restroom facility. Most restaurants will let you use the facilities even if you are not patronizing the restaurant-- if you look respectable and ask them nicely.

On the road, service (gasoline) stations and fast food restaurants are the best places. Franchised fast food restaurants usually have clean, safe restroom facilities, and you won't have to ask to use them. I find the MacDonald's hamburger chain particularly handy for this purpose, since the restaurants are everywhere, and the restroom is usually in the same part of the building wherever you go.

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