Men and Women Differ in Hand Washing Habits

Sep 03, 2013, 07:23 ET from Bradley Corporation

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A national hand washing survey highlights interesting disparities between men and women in their hand washing practices. Nearly three-fourths of women (74 percent) say they always wash their hands after using a public restroom compared to just 60 percent of men who always do so.

When asked why they didn't wash up, the number one reason women give is the use of hand sanitizer. Men cite the lack of soap as their primary reason, followed by an unclean sink or washbasin and then the use of hand sanitizer. Interestingly, men were almost two-and-a-half times more likely than women to say they didn't wash up because they didn't feel the need.

In addition, men are significantly more likely to see another man leave a public restroom without washing his hands. 38 percent of men say they frequently see someone leave without washing versus 25 percent of women who report frequently seeing the same phenomenon.

The findings are part of the fifth annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corporation, a manufacturer of commercial hand washing products.

"Men need to get the memo that hand washing is important no matter what," says Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing & strategic development for Bradley Corporation. "You just can't argue with the research that says it is the number one way to prevent illness and stay healthy."

Unfortunately, the survey also found that more Americans are simply rinsing their hands with water instead of soaping up after using a public restroom. 70 percent admit they've skipped the important cleansing step.

In addition, 81 percent of Americans say they've seen someone leave a public restroom without washing their hands. While most don't do anything after witnessing a non-washing event, others do take action. Respondents say they avoid contact with anything the non-washer touched, wash their own hands more thoroughly and in general avoid the person.

The survey shows that Americans go to great lengths to avoid coming into contact with germs in a public restroom. They commonly employ such tactics as: operate the toilet flusher with their foot (64 percent do so); use a paper towel when touching the restroom door (60 percent) and faucet handles (37 percent); and open and close doors with their hip (48 percent).

The Healthy Hand Washing Survey queried 1,015 American adults Aug. 1-5 about their hand washing habits in public restrooms. Participants were from around the country, ranged in age from 18 to 65 and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (47 and 53 percent). 

For more than 90 years, Bradley Corporation has designed and manufactured commercial washfountains, and today is the industry's exclusive source for plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, restroom partitions, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers. Headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Bradley serves the commercial, industrial, health care, recreation, education, and corrections markets worldwide. For more information, contact Bradley at 1-800-BRADLEY or

SOURCE Bradley Corporation