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Let me start off with a couple of confessions, #1 I am somewhat of a germophobe, and confession #2 is, that I don’t like to use public restrooms if I don’t have to. Over the weekend I was forced to run into a public restroom at one of the biggest department stores in Abilene which I will leave nameless.

Since I don’t use public restrooms on a regular basis, I was taken aback at (the cleanliness or lack thereof) and the fact that the public restrooms don’t clearly mark what side the hot water is on the faucet.

I turned on the left side and let it run for a minute, nothing but cold water. So, I turned on the right side a minute later it was still cold. Apparently, they had no hot water in the restroom to wash our hands with, which the CDC advises we do so to keep from spreading germs. I can list several restaurants and businesses that do not have hot water in their restroom sinks and it's not against the law.

Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When walking out of public restrooms, one has to pull on the door handle that the person in front of you just grabbed after he/she just used the restroom and left after NOT washing their hands, ewe yuck! Thank God for that foot thingie (some places have) at the bottom of the door to open it.

So, this germophobe went running to the front of the store by the shopping carts for some sanitizing wipes (problem solved). Which got me to thinking hot water should always be on the left side of the faucet, or so I thought. After sharing my thoughts with my wife, she said “I think it’s a law that says hot water should be on the left side of the faucet.”

After getting home I contacted whom I believe is the “foremost plumbing expert in Texas” and my good friend Darren Black of Black's Plumbing. Darren says that while there is no “law” it is customary to put the hot water on the left side of a faucet. Furthermore, while said store didn’t have hot water they also didn’t have paper towels to dry off with. They only had the hand air dryer.

I thought I would share the CDC’s “Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way.”

CDC’s “Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way”
Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (preferrably warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

For the record, in the men's room here at the studio, the hot water faucet is on the right-hand side and the cold is on the left-hand side.

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