Introduction: Disease Free Doorknob

Picture of Disease Free Doorknob

As you can see here, someone who needs to use this bathroom a lot doesn't like touching doorknobs.
This isn't as crazy as it may seem.
Bird Flu H6N1 can stay infectious on a hard surface for several days.
Who needs that!!!!!?

Other popular safe methods of opening doors involve using the feet, tail of shirt, cuffs, waiting for someone else to open it, or wedging it open with a stick before you go in.

What's your favorite hands-free doorknob concept?


Tinworm (author)2010-09-29

I guess it is about saving space, but have you noticed how doors into toilets always open INwards? You can lean against it to push the door open, but you have to pull it to get out. From a hygiene point of view, that is back to front - because you are absolutely right, lots of guys do not wash their hands!!!

(top tip - never eat bar nuts from a bowl!)

GenerationalSavant (author)2007-10-19

I subscribe to the "Jesus Christ, it's a doorknob" policy. If they were really going to kill people that frequently, I think we would've heard about it by now. Also, what is creating the super germs that are resistant to treatment? Too many antibiotics, and too much hand washing!!! They're called antibodies. You need some. Expose yourself to everyday, weak germs, and maybe your body will be able to fight off the ones that actual count.... It's like keeping your kid indoors constantly and never letting them play any sports.. you're just being overprotective and actually weakening the kid. (Now before you say "Ew", etc, there is a difference between touching a door knob and eating food off the bathroom floor, etc.)

Ive eaten off the bathroom floor. What?

Here here! Your immune system needs some training to know what to do when there's a serious threat. There's no reason to overprotect yourself from germs, it just means the only ones that get to you are the ones tough enough to survive your antibacterial soap and hand cleaners, then you're in for a double-dose of sick. Let germs try to get me sick, I'm ready.

Besides, all that nasty (door-knob infested, lol) paper on the floor is grosser than just touching the doorknob in the first place. Just because you don't want germs doesn't mean you can leave the rest of us with your mess!!! (Sometimes the cleanest people are the slobbiest... )

Foehammer358 (author)2010-01-19

this has become a frikking  debate....

SHAYNE (author)2006-10-27

I use The Handler. It keeps the germs off your hands opens doors, dispenses paper towels,can flush toilets and turn the sink on and off. The product kills 98% of germs on contact with its anti-microbial properties. The Handler fits on your key chain and cost aout $10 Check it out :

Nyxi (author)SHAYNE2009-05-30

but don't the other two percent accumulate all over your keys?

GrinnDaddy (author)SHAYNE2007-08-31


Vendigroth (author)SHAYNE2007-06-17 DOESN'T kill that rogue 2% of germs, and they're the tricky ones

zak armada (author)2008-06-21

this isnt worthy of an instructable because it dosnt teach anything. you wasted my time. (author)2006-07-07

This is a huge issue for me. If I don't use paper to turn the handle, I wait until somebody comes in. This problem would be completely solved if architects would just plan the building so that the bathroom doors can be pushed open from inside! Hear that architects, students of architecture, and restaurant owners??? Build or change your bathroom doors so they push open from the inside of the bathroom! I also never come back to a restaurant that is missing the soap or doesn't have running hot water in the bathroom sinks. How do the employees wash their hands?

carpespasm (author)podup365.com2007-12-22

Seriously? you realize that those same people will wind up leaving the restaurant or other place eventually and use the door handle too right? Unless you have a habit of licking your hands after going to the bathroom you're fine. And to the doors opening out thing, it's usually a city or state code issue. There usually isn't much the owner or planner can do since the area that has the higher traffic has to be the one the door opens in for so people are less likely to get hit by somone leaving the bathroom. (author)carpespasm2007-12-22

Yes, Seriously. You are correct. However, people leaving the restaurant would be doing so after eating. Employees would do the same after cooking and serving. I prefer to wash my hands and keep them clean before I eat with them. This is not a city or state code issue, because many restaurants do have bathroom doors that push open from the inside. If it's a traffic issue, the architect could plan accordingly with a bit of space in front of the restrooms for the doors. Special hinges could make the door push open from both ways as well.

Asmalldharma (author)2006-06-25

I follow George Carlin's philosophy...your immune system is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. There's some medical evidence to back this up. Apparently children whose parents let them get dirty (play in the mud, etc.) have less of a chance of developing asthma later in life. There is also some evidence which suggests that due to our generally sterile environment, our immune systems, lacking anything to fight, start attacking our own bodies, causing a plethora of disorders. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that humans, at one point in the distant past, were immune to things like botulism and salmonella. I could be wrong, though. That being said...why do the doors in public bathrooms always open inwards? Why hasn't some genius figured out that if you make the door swing the other way, people can just push it open without having to touch it with their hands?

carpespasm (author)Asmalldharma2007-12-22

I have a friend with strong anecdotal evidence to this fact. His mom lysoled every toy and room of the house he was in and never let him go play in the mud and dirt as a kid, even took toys away until she got a chance to sterilize them when he was a kid. The first day he went into school and for about a year he caught pretty much every common illness (cold, fevers, allergies, diarrhea, etc... for about a year straight. After that his immune system pretty much caught up (except for the allergies) and his mom stopped making the house cleanroom sterile. His little sisters have never had such problems.

philipburtburt (author)2007-11-20

u r dum

darthbuttons (author)2007-05-06

What do I use to open the bathroom door? My bare hands. Like a few people have already mentioned, exposing oneself to germs can actually make you healthier. If your immune system is used to fighting every-day germs, it will be better prepared to fight of the dangerous ones.

implaxis (author)2006-06-27

"Bird Flu H6N1 can stay infectious on a hard surface for several days." It's "H5N1", and I think it's probably "hours" at best. Still, I never heard of people using their feet to flush or open doors until recently. Knowing what the floor conditions are like in some of these places, maybe the tissue thing isn't a bad idea. Places should have a trash can next to the door for just such a reason.

DavidRobertson (author)implaxis2007-02-11

actually there are many strains of bird flu but may well be H5N1

lemonie (author)2007-01-14

If someone is closing the door on the way out, where do you source your paper to open it on the way in?

indomitable (author)2006-11-16

lol, this is just silly. i hardly ever get sick, and i touch everything.

trebuchet03 (author)2006-06-25

My favorite concept.... avoid paranoia... only take medicine when absolutely necessary... The bathroom is not the only place you can pick up germs and such - which is why your skin is an excellent germicide :P

bocas (author)trebuchet032006-11-10

Finally! Someone with common sense!

ieatwiteoutforfun (author)2006-10-25

I just use my foot to open the door

MDude (author)2006-10-17

Telekinetic powers.

cirrostratus (author)2006-09-27

I've got 9 year-old, so my immune system gets plenty of working out. And I'm not particularly squeemish, but I don't want to be handling some stranger's urine or feces, dried or otherwise, and I certainly don't want to do it with the tens or hundreds of strangers who have used that restroom. I used to work in a gas station, many years ago, and cleaning the restrooms was one of the last things I'd do after I'd shut down at night. Lol. Some people do some very nasty things in public restrooms. Now, I use the towel I dryed my hands with to open the door, or I'll use the side of my arm to press a lever if there aren't any towels. If it's a knob and there aren't any towels, I'll probably use my shirttail. If there isn't a trashcan by the door, I'll take the towel with me to where there is a trashcan and toss it.

mendezzle (author)2006-09-20

"I find people who don't wash their hands have no respect for others." Like hell I'm gonna touch the knobs at a sink in a bathroom, I guarantee you my dick is a lot cleaner than that!

Daykun (author)2006-09-11

I stick the doorknob up my butt and jump up and down until the door is open. Advantage: I don't need toilet paper Disadvantage: Other people don't like to touch the doorknob...

ducky (author)2006-07-19

Man I thought I was weird for doing it for years, but then everywhere I started seeing trash cans behind the doors. I find people who don't wash their hands have no respect for others. It's like scratching your crotch and shaking hands with someone. You shouldn't do it. I worked at a book store for years and would wash my hands twice once before then after at first it was from the news print, but then I noticed how many people didn't wash there hands and I thought hey I was touching the same book as that guy and he didn't wash his hands! Aids is the lest of your problems from a door but remember Hepatitis A, B, and C, Gonorrhea, and a host of other diseases can live on a surface for 48 hours. Will they kill you? No, but living with them wouldn’t be a joy either. A nail stylist told me about some women who would come back from the bathroom with “business” as she called it still under there nails wanting her to work on them. This might sound contrary to my above thoughts at first, but I do not cover my mouth when I sneeze. This is for the same reason I do not to touch my face when making food for others. If a sneeze is in fact a release measured around 100mph. My hand is just going to get wet and I will need to wash it. What if I’m helping someone and sneeze should I touch things I wish to sell them. No, so I try to hold it but I will point myself down and away from others so I can continue to work. handdryers bite and why can't everyone have normal knobs at the sink I can't wash my hand if the other is holding down the knob for water

neonpants (author)2006-07-04

Germs on the doorknob are the least of your worries. You should worry about the toilet/ urinal instead. All you need to know is that AIDS lives for 7 seconds airborn. Wait that long then almost anything should be dead that is going to cause you serious harm. Live while you're alive. Germs are more afraid of you than you are of them..... or is that spiders. Whatever the point is just be sanitary. As long as you aren't making-out with the door knob you should be fine. Trust me, I know everything.

Von Klaus (author)neonpants2006-07-06

yeah i got AIDS from peeing in the same urinal 3 seconds after a guy with AIDS finshed. i felt that virus crawl up my penis.

nenote (author)2006-07-03

As a guy I've noticed how many other guys don't wash hands after urinating, a few second before having that door handle in their hand they had something else in it. and I am not after washing my hands carefully of my scent going to touch those handles. worst case scenario no one to open the door first for me to hold with elbow, no paper or shirt tale to grab door then I resort to using the outside of my fist to unlach and slightly pull until I can help it with my foot. laws should be put in place that first all restroom doors open out and secondly when open no view of people should be given in any form. I also flush with the foot and slide stall locks with elbow. whenever I realize I'm rubbing my eyes, brushing away sweat or suddenly picking my teeth gums or any part of me I'm glad it's only me on my hands.

I Love Nosferatu (author)2006-06-26

i agree with the concept of not worrying about it. When i was younger my mom never let me use hand sanitizer, and i can say that i hardly ever got common colds that you get from contaminated surfaces. Besides, who wants to smell like that stuff? And as for the door knob thing, won't you look silly either wasting paper like in the picture or doing the wedge your foot in the door dance?

dan (author)I Love Nosferatu2006-06-28

me too. staying too clean makes immune system weak. i dont know of any studies on this, but i think it is now becoming accepted that increased allergy rates are due to "bored" immune systems that don't have any real germs to fight.

muller (author)2006-06-26

The easiest solution is to put a garbage can next to the door. My company does this. You use the paper towel you use to dry your hands after washing them to open the door, hold it with your foot and throw away the paper towel in the garbage. Simple solution.

elkar (author)2006-06-26

I twist-the-knob-and-start-pullnig-the-door with my 1/4 bent elbow. Then as soon as the door is opened enough, I use my foot to fully push it open. It is very simple and not too visible to others (some people would think I'm crazy to do so). I think the most important is to keep hands clean, as we frequently and uncounciously touch our face with our hands. Germs or any unhygienic substance may harm more if in contact with mucous membranes (lips, eyes) than with simply skin. Immune system training takes place essentially during childhood (well, this is what I believe, I may be wrong). I think mine is trained enough so I rather avoid unnecessary exposure. I think I fear other's lack of hygiene more than really germs ; for me there is a difference between ill-prone "germs" and simply "dirt". Even if others' pee would be sterilized, I wouldn't touch it ! (note this may be a phobia, but I don't want to cure this - I feel all right with it)

rotor (author)2006-06-26

I just wait for someone else to open the door, then dash through really quick. Enjoy your GERMS, SUCKERS! Haha!

trebuchet03 (author)rotor2006-06-26

I guess I do enjoy them :P I have not been sick in over three years...

mikesty (author)2006-06-25

It's funny .. my parents are divorced and I've literally grown up wih a sense of conflicting hygiene. My stepfather insists I wash my hands too much, and that I should not wait for the water to warm. Instead of blowing my nose into tissues, I should get a hankie or just ue my sleeve. On the contrary, my dad tells me I don't wash my hands enough - but he wipes his hands with antibacterial Handi Wipes and pours disinfectant gel all over his hands. I think it's fair to say I have a good sense of moderation now :) Regardless, my solution is for all of us to just carry around our own personal doorknobs...

austin (author)2006-06-25

dont overuxse antibiotics. was your hands, cover your nose nd mouth when you sneeze and cough. dont be overly paranoid. seriously sheltered kids are so much more accident prone than those that are allowed to learn. but if you must a coating of silver on a doorknob would kill much bacteria as silver is shown to be and anitbacterial agent.

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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