Why are Many Restroom Doors “Pull to Exit”, not “Push to Exit”?

We previously wrote about the importance of clean, sanitary communal restroom facilities. But our readers may have noticed that after washing and drying their hands, they are often faced with a “pull to exit” door to leave the restroom facility. Now they run the risk of contaminating their hands again!

Why are many restrooms designed this way? Is there a workaround for building owners? How can users stay hygienic? We’ll break down the answers for you!

Why Restroom Doors are Designed This Way

ADA Exit ClearanceThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires minimum clearances for door swings. If the restroom opens into a narrow space, such as a hallway, it can be difficult to achieve this clearance with a “push to exit” door. Therefore, building design limitations often force the existence of a “pull to exit” restroom door. In addition, many buildings are designed under space constraints. Constructing bathrooms with “pull to exit” doors requires less room than “push to exit” doors.


Avoiding the Issue with Re-Design

When laying out a new building (or an existing building remodel), the restroom doors can be designed as “push to exit” if the restroom entrances are recessed into the wall to allow for more door clearance, or offset so that the outward swinging door is not a traffic hazard.

In addition, doors can be avoided altogether if the restroom entrances are built with a labyrinth design, commonly seen in airports.  

Staying Sanitary Regardless of Exit Design

Sometimes, especially in older or smaller facilities, this issue just cannot be avoided. To keep your hands clean even with a “pull to exit” door, users can use their sleeve, a piece of paper towel, or even toilet paper to open the door. It is also useful to carry hand sanitizer to sterilize your hands after engaging in public spaces. Building owners can accommodate this concern by placing hand sanitizing stations directly outside restroom facilities, or a waste basket near the exit. This humor blogger offers some practical tips and a handy flowchart!

We want to answer your door-related and security system-related questions! To submit a question, click this link, and follow us on LinkedIn to stay informed.

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