Disease Free Doorknob




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

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?

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    41 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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!)

    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.)

    3 replies

    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... )


    12 years ago

    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 : www.HandlerUsa.com

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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

    zak armada

    11 years ago on Introduction

    this isnt worthy of an instructable because it dosnt teach anything. you wasted my time.


    13 years ago

    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?

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    13 years ago

    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?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    13 years ago

    "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.

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago

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