Handwashing Habits of Americans

Maintaining proper hand hygiene is important to stop the spread of germs and avoid getting sick, but how many of us are washing our hands as frequently as we should be?

Puronics recently surveyed Americans across the country to examine their handwashing habits, including how often they wash their hands, when they wash their hands and how handwashing habits vary between demographics. The study revealed that while Americans claim they’re washing their hands, nearly one-third of Americans admit to not washing their hands after using the restroom.

It is interesting to note that the importance of handwashing varies by gender. Among respondents who say handwashing is only “somewhat” or “not very important,” almost one-third (31%) are male and 17% are female.


There is a difference between saying handwashing is important and actually washing your hands. Respondents say they wash their hands roughly nine times throughout the day with females washing their hands slightly more than males. However, only 49% of respondents say they “always” use soap when they wash their hands and less than one-third (28%) always use hot water.

According to the CDC, proper handwashing hygiene includes using soap and scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds (or long enough to hum “Happy Birthday”), but 38% say they only wash their hands for 15 seconds or less.


From light switches to the kitchen sink, germs can hide in plain sight throughout your home, but the bathroom can also be a magnet for bacteria, which is why it’s so important to wash your hands after using it. Most respondents agree that it’s “very important” to wash your hands after using the restroom, but 32% admit that they don’t always do it.

Along with washing your hands after using the restroom at home, it’s also important to do so when you’re out in public. According to respondents, 68% say they wash their hands for a longer amount of time when they use a public bathroom compared to using their bathroom at home.

Many take things one step further to avoid germs in public restrooms. The most common methods to avoid germs in a public restroom includes using a paper towel on doors, door handles and the sink (64%), flushing the toilet with your foot (59%), and using a seat liner or cover on the toilet lid (52%).


To read the entire study, click here.

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