Few things strike fear into my heart like a bathroom without a loud-ass fan. You know the kind I’m talking about — it’s not even clear if they’re actually circulating the air, but they sound like someone’s riding a dirtbike in the ceiling and that’s what counts. I do not want anyone to hear what I’m doing in the bathroom, even if I’m just peeing. That’s my God-given right. Yet, my own apartment’s bathroom doesn’t have any fan at all. Considering I rarely have guests over, that’s usually fine. But whenever I do have a visitor, I become acutely aware of just how thin the door is. And if that guest happens to be standing in the kitchen, i.e., right outside my bathroom, well, forget it. Might as well toss me in the trash.
If I really wanted to, though, I could do something about it.
Bathrooms are usually more conducive to sound because of the primary materials of the room. Porcelain, ceramic or whatever your sink, tub and toilet are made of don’t absorb much sound. The abject noises we produce in the bathroom are then able to bounce off these materials, and without any soft surfaces to be absorbed into, the sound can travel beyond your thin plywood door.
Changing out that thin door for a thicker one or installing an industrial-strength fan are probably too costly a price to pay, but the presence of soft materials in your bathroom is one variable you might be able to affordably control. To that end, you could literally design your bathroom like a recording studio and install foam panels. You can get a pack of 12 square-foot panels off Amazon for $22, and place them on the wall where the door is located or wherever else there’s free space in your bathroom using Command Strips. While they’re intended for music-related purposes, several reviews suggest they work just fine in drowning out noises from neighbors and will probably work just fine for your bathroom needs.
Another option is to weather-proof your bathroom door by adding additional stripping to the bottom. These products are usually intended to keep out cold air in the winter, but they’ll also help stop your ungodly bathroom sounds from leaving the room, too. This is a pretty cheap fix, too, with plenty of weather-proofing options selling for less than $15.
You could also just fill up your bathroom with more soft-surface bathroom-related objects. Even a hamper or a stack of towels will absorb some of the noise. The more sound-absorbing objects you have in your bathroom, the fewer sounds that will escape. It’s worth noting, though, that all the soft surfaces in your bathroom will probably become covered in invisible fecal particles. Because any time you flush, the contents of the bowl are spritzed all over the room. (Obviously, you can avoid this by just closing the lid before you flush.)
My only other tip on the topic of bathroom sounds would be to become more confident and comfortable with your bodily functions. Everybody poops! Unfortunately, you’ll have to seek that advice elsewhere because I’m still traumatized from a pool party I went to in eighth grade where the bathroom door was made of wicker.