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Should Bathroom Doors Open In Or Out?

If there were set standards to be followed by builders on the swing direction of a bathroom door then you will have no option but to adhere, even if it wasn’t complementing the design of your home.

The bathroom door should, therefore, open in and not out, and this brings us to the next big question why?

Well, the reasons are many and the first one is that it enables odor control.

When the door is opened from the outside or rather “pull to enter” then the bad smell from the bathroom will be pushed outside into the hallway and if the adjacent rooms have people or experience a lot of traffic then this could be quite uncomfortable.

But when the door is pushed inside that is if it opens in, then some of the fresh air is sucked into the bathroom thus less discomfort either at home or in a public office.

Conditions that necessitate a swing out bathroom door

However, there are some cases that will force the door to open out because they can cause inconveniences if the bathroom itself is small.

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Remember that the option of opening towards the hallway allows the convenient placement of the bathroom fixtures.

At times also, the bathroom door might be opening to a hallway that is always full of traffic and if someone is coming out then they might knock over a kid or the adults passing by.

Opening to the inside, on the other hand, gives the builder the option of placing the bathroom adjacent to the staircase but that is according to the original plan of the house.

Public bathrooms are a hazardous area and the orientation of the door is of utmost importance, take for example if the door opens inwards, then the people coming from using the washroom and have not washed their hands will leave germs on the door handle.

And so will the next person leaving the bathroom, it, therefore, becomes safe if the door opens to the outside because the person coming from the inside can use their shoulders or leg to push the door outside and walk out, so the only people that will touch the door handle are those that will be coming in from outside, which then reduces the risk of contamination from inside the washroom.

Security and privacy

In a private or home setting the bathroom door would work best if it opens inwards so that it does not interfere with the limited hallway space.

And better yet if the doorknobs happen to be faulty the person in the bathroom who needs more privacy can easily hold the door tight as he/she finishes their business and then let it loose when they are done.

But when it opens to the outside and the doorknob is broken thus it cannot close tight then you will have a hard time getting enough privacy while inside the bathroom.

When it comes to security a bathroom door is better placed to open toward the inside because the person inside the room will have access to the hinges.

So if you were locking yourself inside the bathroom for security purposes then you could remove the hinge pins from right inside the bathroom, thus keep the person on the other side outside, and better yet it would impossible for the person who is on the outside to imprison you in the bathroom by removing the hinges.

But when the door opens out, then it becomes easy for someone to lock you inside the bathroom from the other end.

Occupants of the home

Despite the many advantages of having the bathroom door open into the bathroom, there are also some downsides that require a good thought process.

The question that you should, therefore, ask yourself is who are the occupants of the house, are they teens or older adults.

When it comes to the latter it is best that the door swings outside because in case they collapse or get an attack and fall on the door from the inside then gaining access to the bathroom will be difficult.

And worse still is that when you finally manage to get access to the bathroom it might be too late for their health.

Also if you have small kids that use the bathroom unsupervised, an inside swing will work to their disadvantage because they might end up locking themselves inside thus getting in might be hustle in case of an emergency.

The layout of the house also has to be considered especially with the older adults, for example, if the door is at the top of a staircase, it needs to open out to give the person a chance to first assess their movements with regards to the steps that they take next.

But when it opens onto the staircase then anyone might expect a level floor thus fall down the stairs, but when the door is out of the way you will be able to first calculate your steps.

Important to note is that the bathroom door is used more than the other doors in the house, so as regards the layout of your home, if it opens onto the hallway then there are high chances that people will be injured as they use the hallway.  

Favorable options

From the above we can gather that there is so much controversy on the direction that the bathroom door should open, however, there is a solution that hasn’t been largely adopted, but we hope to see it in the near future.

The sliding door seems to be a better option, because it could also solve all the problems of dealing with kids, to being convenient for the older adults and it will also give people a heads up of the pending stairs thus obliterate the chances of falling.


The orientation of your bathroom door has a lot to do with the occupants and the layout of your house.

And if it is a new home you could opt for the sliding doors, but there is always the budget factor to consider, as the swing door tends to be a lot cheaper than the sliding door.

And if you are installing one in a public place then a swing out-door would be convenient to prevent people from touching dirt and germs left on the door handle by the individuals coming out of the bathroom.

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