Survey On Public Restroom Hygiene Habits, From Dyson

The global survey found the main frustrations for restroom visitors are unclean toilets; lack of tissue paper; and unclean common areas.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 66% of people are less likely to leave a restroom without washing their hands. In a recent global hygiene study, Dyson, a maker of touch-free hand dryers with Dyson Airblade™  technology, looked at how attitudes towards the restroom and general hand hygiene have changed since the start of the pandemic.

Notes Dyson, the message from leading organizations, such as the WHO, both during and after the pandemic has been clearly focused on the importance of frequently washing hands properly, and the vital role that thoroughly dry hands play. Experts have noted that hands can transfer germs if not washed correctly and that practicing good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses, which could lead to infection.

Photo: Dyson

Dyson Surveys Restroom Hygiene Habits

Results from the recent Dyson global study show that while people are more conscious of the importance of hand hygiene since the pandemic started, 11% of people globally admit that they are more likely to leave the restroom without washing their hands, and 42% of people feel a lot more concerned visiting a public restroom compared to this time last year. In the United States, 20% of male and younger people (19-29 years) are more likely to leave a public restroom without washing their hands.

The study also found that while respondents were concerned with hand hygiene, some still disregard the importance of handwashing and drying: leading  health organizations  stipulate a person must wash their hands frequently with water  and soap  for at least 20 seconds — as well as  dry hands  properly.

The study revealed that since the outbreak only 40% of people stated hygiene considerations as their main purpose for drying their hands. For some, it was just a habit (14%), and a small number like the feel of clean hands (11%). However, it also found that if the restroom has no working hand dryers or paper towels, some respondents were likely let them dry naturally (25%) or dry them on their trousers or top (15%).

“These results highlight the need for further education on hand hygiene,” explains Dr Salome Giao, senior microbiologist and scientist at Dyson.
”We know damp hands can transfer up to 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands, while wiping hands on clothes can jeopardize the handwashing process, as they can add bacteria to the washed hands if they are not clean.”

The global study also revealed that poorly maintained restrooms can cause people to feel frustrated. When it comes to public facilities, the main frustrations globally are unclean toilets (70%); lack of toilet paper (51%); and unclean washroom common areas (48%). Comparing to the same time last year, there was a portion of people who were more concerned around using hand dryers but some of the biggest hygiene concerns related to using hand dryers were having to press physical buttons (40%) and drying hands with unclean air (32%). In the survey, 58% selected touchless activation of a hand dryer as one of the features which would put their mind at ease when using a hand dryer, and a further 47% stated that including filters, which clean the air used to dry their hands would also ease their concerns when using a hand dryer.

The Dyson survey was conducted online between July 13-28, 2020, with a total of 8,758 interviews. Nationally representative samples in terms of age, gender, and region in the following countries:

  • UK n=544
  • Germany n=520
  • Italy n=566
  • Spain n=574
  • France n=557
  • Netherlands n=518
  • US n=1094
  • Canada n=525
  • Mexico n=598
  • China* n=1000
  • Singapore n=561
  • Japan n=571
  • Malaysia n=580
  • Australia n=544
    * In China, the survey has been conducted in four cities Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu (n=250 for each city region)
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