The idea of an app for finding restrooms and toilets might, at first blush, seem stupid or silly, until you find yourself waiting in a queue, out on a road trip, or traveling to an unfamiliar city where you might not even speak the local language. And some public restrooms can be surprisingly filthy. Check out these six apps designed to help you find a clean public restroom to park your behind below.
Charmin's Sit or Squat (Android, iOS) is pretty much a good template for toilet finder apps everywhere. Using your smartphone's location sensors to display nearby public restrooms either in list form, or on a map. Users can rate toilets "Sit" (pretty good) or "Squat" (could be better), view other user reviews, upload images of the facilities, and add restrooms that aren't on the list. A neat feature is a search filter for finding restrooms with specific features or criteria, such as restrooms open now, pay-per-use, those with baby changing tables, etc.
For a slightly more modern-looking UI, check out Flush Toilet Finder (Android, iOS) by developer Sam Ruston, the same dev behind the clean and minimalist Weather Timeline. The app uses your location sensors and checks its database of more than 200,000 public and paid toilets worldwide, showing you nearby toilets on a map, with information such as whether the toilet requires a fee, key, and can provide handicapped access. Neat features include the fact that Flush Toilet Finder functions even when offline, and can integrate with Google Maps to provide directions to a selected restroom.
BeTomorrow's Toilet Finder (Android, iOS) is another free toilet finder app that features a database of more than 150,000 entries, complete with ratings as well as indicators as to whether a toilet is free or paid, and whether it provides disabled access. Otherwise, it's a fairly clean, minimalist app. The iOS version has a slight edge on the Android one given Apple Watch support, allowing you to project the map and nearby toilet entries right to your smartwatch.
If you're looking for restroom reviews that are a bit more detailed, perhaps Where to Wee might be more up your alley. In addition to finding nearby restrooms in a Google-maps powered interface or list view, Where to Wee also displays ratings for each restroom based on a variety of factors, such as toilet cleanliness, soap availability, supplies like toilet paper and odor. In addition to finding restrooms, users can add new entries, upload photos of the facilities, and rate a particular toilet.
AirPnP takes the entire 'sharing economy' thing in an interesting direction. Taking a riff off of AirBnB, AirPnP allows users to put up listings for their restrooms, detailing features and any fees, as well as any requirements. Users can then book a restroom and arrange details with the lister. It's a mixed bag of free and paid, and a wide variety of setups. Users can view listings through the mobile app, or through a web view at the AirPnP website.
If you're in Midtown Manhattan and absolutely must revel in decadent luxury, checkout Looie, an interesting startup that for a monthly subscription fee of $25, promises unlimited access to a variety of serviced, luxury restrooms in various locations throughout the midtown. Subscribers download the app, search for participating locations and establishments nearby, make a reservation, arrive and show your virtual key, and bang! Clean toilets. It's an interesting business concept, and we'll see how well it does.