Close this search box.

What makes a good public toilet? 

by Leila Salaverria

Recently updated on January 18, 2023 01:58 am

SOME people judge public places or facilities by how good their toilets are.

After all, a good toilet, or lack thereof, can make or break their experience in a place. 

Visitors will be happy with the toilets in the Baguio Botanical Garden and in Wright Park, which bagged the ASEAN Public Toilet Award 2023, as per the city’s public information office. 

The interior of the Wright Park public toilet (photo credit: Baguio City Public Information Office)

The award will be conferred next month at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Tourism Standards Awards ceremony to be held in Indonesia.

How did the Baguio facilities stand out in the crowd? What makes a good public toilet?

The standard

The ASEAN has laid down its Public Toilet Standard and explained why there is a need to ensure that the restrooms in tourist places should be of good quality.

“A basic yet vital component in the tourism industry that can make or break the tourist experience is when the tourist has to use the toilet,” it said. 

It said it developed the standard to ensure the quality, comfort, safety, and proper waste management of public toilets at touristic destinations within the region 

It noted that there are a variety of toilets within Southeast Asia, with different norms and designs. But it said there are criteria to which all public toilets in the region should adhere.

These must be clean, hygienic, have complete amenities and facilities, located conveniently, well-maintained, and use proper waste management systems.

ASEAN uses four main criteria which recommend how a public toilet must be maintained. These are: Design and Environmental Management Safety, Amenities and Facilities, Cleanliness, and Safety.

Design and Environmental Management System

The ASEAN said the public toilets must use a proper waste management system and standardized water treatment system that the local government has approved.

It also said the area surrounding the toilets must be kept clean and safe, and there must be easy access for visitors.

There must likewise be notices explaining the importance of proper hygiene, cleanliness, and tidiness.

At least one of the toilets must be reserved for persons with disability. These should sport bigger doors for wheelchair access and have railings for support.  

Amenities and Facilities 

According to the ASEAN, public toilets must have cubicles with enough space for a grown person.

These toilets must have tissue, toilet paper, a hand dryer, a waste bin, soap, water, and hand wash at all times.

There must also be an area where coat hangers could be placed, as well as ledges for other items. 


To be considered up to standard, public toilets should have a proper ventilation system or at least have open windows for air circulation, it said. 

They shouldn’t have a bad odor and should have no dirty areas, including in the corners or behind toilet bowls. 

The floors must be kept clean and should not retain water. 

ASEAN also recommends that there be attendants at the toilets for cleaning and maintenance. 

There should likewise be a suggestion box near the entrance, and toilet managers should abide by the recommendations when appropriate. 

Toilet managers should ensure that the facilities are regularly cleaned and maintained.


To be considered safe, the public toilets must have adequate lighting, wash basins, and cubicles, the ASEAN said.

They must be located in safe areas to ensure that those using the facilities won’t fall prey to unlawful activities. 

The toilet floors must be made of non-slippery material. 

As for the buildings or facilities themselves, these should be structurally firm with no cracks or defects.

Fixtures such as locks, mirrors, hand dryers, and soap dispensers must be fastened securely. 

The ASEAN also encouraged toilet operators to use environment-friendly cleaning agents. 

Banner photo credit: Baguio City Public Information Office 



We have the stories you’ll want to read.

RepublicAsia Newsletter