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Handwashing frequency up during COVID-19 pandemic: survey

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Menomonee Falls, WI — The COVID-19 pandemic has people in the United States taking handwashing more seriously, results of a recent survey indicate.

As a follow-up to its 11th annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted in January, Bradley Corp. – a manufacturer of commercial restroom and emergency safety products – surveyed more than 1,100 people representing four generations (Generation Z, millennials, Generation X and baby boomers) April 6-7 to gauge the impact COVID-19 has had on hand hygiene habits.

Results show 9 out of 10 respondents are washing their hands more frequently, more thoroughly or longer. Additionally, 78% are washing their hands at least six times a day – up from 37% before the pandemic began – while 20% are washing their hands 16 or more times a day.

Seventy-seven percent said they’re washing their hands multiple times a day for at least 20 seconds, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Results of the previous survey showed that 57% of respondents washed their hands for only five to 15 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, CDC recommends the use of a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Other findings:

  • 70% of the respondents said they’re extremely concerned or very concerned about contracting COVID-19. Conversely, 12% are not at all or not very concerned about it.
  • 89% said they’re more conscious of germs than they were before the pandemic.
  • 71% correctly said using soap and water is more effective than using hand sanitizer to disinfect hands – up from 64%.
  • 36% consider themselves germophobes.

Better handwashing habits are likely to stick, too, with 88% of the respondents saying they’re extremely likely or somewhat likely to maintain new, healthier hand hygiene habits.


“During these unprecedented times, handwashing and germ avoidance is top of mind for almost everyone,” Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development at Bradley, said in an April 15 press release. “The health benefits of handwashing can’t be emphasized enough, particularly during virus outbreaks like this.”

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