Living dangerously: 12% of adults STILL don’t wash hands after using public bathroom

LONDON — It’s hard to believe given the global pandemic we all find ourselves in, but a recent survey reveals that 12% of British adults still regularly use the bathroom, both public and private, without washing their hands.

In all, 2,000 Brits took part in the survey. The poll also notes that the average adult now washes their hands eight times per day. While that doesn’t necessarily sound all that unusual, it’s an improvement over pre-coronavirus hand-washing habits. Before COVID-19, the average adult only washed their hands five times per day.

Put together by Citron Hygiene, the research also finds that people are washing/soaping their hands a bit longer. Today, the average adult washes their hands for 19 seconds. In the past that average was a mere 12 seconds.

People more aware of when to wash their hands

Respondents were asked about their hygiene habits before COVID-19 emerged, and 45% admit they used to routinely cough into their hands and not wash up afterwards. Another 30% say the same regarding sneezing. Similarly, 25% rarely washed their hands prior to cooking before COVID-19, and 40% wouldn’t wash up before eating. Who’s hungry?

Thankfully, nowadays 83% will always wash their hands after coughing and 85% do the same after sneezing.

Meanwhile, 80% of respondents also wouldn’t wash their hands after using their smartphone back in the day. Today, that percentage is much better at 60%.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to stay hygienic but it is sad to see that many are not doing this. It’s shocking to still see more than 10 per cent of the nation popping to the toilet and not washing their hands, when washing and sanitizing your hands is the easiest and simplest way to stop the spread,” comments Robert Guice, executive vice president, international, at Citron Hygiene, in a statement. “It gives everyone more peace of mind when so much is out of your control. Despite habits shifting, there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially as restrictions ease and we are given more freedom – if not only for yourself, but for the benefit of others.”


Additionally, U.K. citizens are now far more likely to wash their hands after using a computer, shopping at a grocery store, or playing with pets. It’s also a positive sign that 50% are using hand sanitizer far more often than the pre-covid days. Another 30% are disinfecting their home more frequently.

Perhaps the survey’s most important finding: 78% of respondents are washing their hands more often in general. When asked why they’re embracing hand-washing, a fifth say it’s for their “own personal hygiene reasons.” Another 13% are just scared of COVID-19.

Only one in 20 indicated that they wash their hands to protect other people from the coronavirus.

Making public restrooms more appealing

Interestingly, 45% say that concerns over having to use a public bathroom factors into their decisions regarding whether to venture back out to their favorite bars, restaurants, and stores.

So, what would make many people feel more comfortable in a public restroom? Slightly more than half (51%) say a hand sanitizer station at the bathroom entrance/exit. Another 44% would like to see touch-free motion sensors for toilets. Over 30% wouldn’t mind doors that open somehow without touching them. And 31% always appreciate seeing some documentation of the last time the bathroom was cleaned.

Meanwhile, only a fifth would feel safer in a public restroom if masks were mandatory.

When asked about returning to their jobs/offices, 27% said they are still afraid of going back to a physical work location. But, those same respondents also said they would feel more comfortable returning to work if their workplace was fitted with hand sanitizers, surface wipes, and an anti-bacterial air cleaning system.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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John Anderer

Born blue in the face, John has been writing professionally for over a decade and covering the latest scientific research for StudyFinds since 2019. His work has been featured by Business Insider, Eat This Not That!, MSN, Ladders, and Yahoo!

Studies and abstracts can be confusing and awkwardly worded. He prides himself on making such content easy to read, understand, and apply to one’s everyday life.

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