“’ To Flush or Not to Flush’, that is the Question!”… Bathroom etiquette in Mexico!


Traveling in México, well shoot, even at Mexican restaurants, bars, discos in the United States you will notice the trash can!  Toilet paper is NOT flushed because of clogging drains, filtering water, and the lack of modern sewage systems.

You see, in Mexico, in most places you don’t flush toilet paper; it must be neatly thrown away in the trash can in the stall.  At first, I was repulsed by the notion, but after living in Morelia, Michoacán for some time, I came back to the states and the first week or so my hand after well, wiping naturally reached over to throw the t.p. in the can.  It took some time to break the habit, a bit of reverse culture shock.

You might also notice that some toilets don’t have seats.  It is not because they have broken, but rather because in Mexico, toilets and toilet seats are sold separately.  I found that out after having a conversation with a store clerk.

She explained, “Lo que pasa es que las tazas como son percalinas vienen de una fábrica y las tapas como son de plástico se vende aparte porque viene de otra fábrica.” (What happens is that the toilets are porcelain and come from one factory and the lids since they are plastic come from another factory.)

BEST TRAVELING IN MEXICO TIP: ALWAYS CARRY A ROLL OF T.P. with you and have at least 10 pesos to pay for bathroom entry!!  I learned this the hard way.  I was in Morelia, Michoacán, studying abroad.  I went to La Michoacana, the university to pick up books and my school ID.  I took a quick trip to the bathroom.  After using the facilities, I reached in for the toilet paper and to my chagrin, NOTHING! I mean not even a square of t.p.  It was not the most pleasant of experiences I‘ve had, but it was indeed a lesson learned!  I never left the house again without a full-sized roll of t.p.

Many places will have public bathrooms, but you must pay on average 3-5 pesos to use them.  There is usually an attendee who allows you in and hands you a few squares of t.p.  That’s right…ONLY a FEW squares of t.p.!  And sometimes, that is just not enough!  So having the roll of t.p. in your bag or pocket comes in very handy!

So in summary of toilet etiquette in Mexico:

  • ALWAYS carry a roll of toilet paper with you!
  • Keep 5-10 pesos with you in order to enter a public restroom!
  • Don’t flush the toilet paper; throw it in the trash can! (Keep in mind, that many large resorts have their own water treatment plants, so it is acceptable to flush. However, most places, especially small towns, expect to NOT flush your paper.)


11 thoughts on ““’ To Flush or Not to Flush’, that is the Question!”… Bathroom etiquette in Mexico!

  1. These tips can be used for anywhere in Thailand as well. Although here in Thailand we also have squat toilets (which I actually prefer) that you have to hand flush with water from a trough in the stall. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on howdoyousaytacoinspanish and commented:
    I am still packing, unpacking, moving and cleaning.! It’s never ending this moving thing.! In the meantime, I would like to reblog a post from Mexico: Live it, Love it. It’s a conundrum I felt many times over while living in Playa del Carmen. Enjoy.!!!

  3. Pingback: Through another’s eyes | camino55

  4. I had to laugh at this post. I was back in the US 10 days before I stopped looking for the trash can! Can’t say I carry a whole roll but I never leave home without it (TP) and some wet wipes for good measure. Good to carry some in Europe as well.

    • Hi there! So far, no criticism.

      I think flushing toilet paper varies region to region. Honestly, we are able to flush paper in our house here, but there are many places in the city, even high-end restaurants, that still ask you to put the paper in a basket. I think with time flushing the paper will continue to be more common. Until then, despite what critics say, there are still many places where you will be requested to deposit the paper in the basket. Great blog! We are looking forward to following!

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