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As pandemic wears on, good handwashing habits starting to slide: survey

Photo: RuslanDashinsky/iStockphoto

Menomonee Falls, WI — Pandemic fatigue appears to be setting in when it comes to handwashing habits, with many people lathering up less frequently now than during the early days of COVID-19, according to the results of a recent survey.

For its annual Healthy Handwashing Survey, Bradley Corp., a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures, restroom accessories and emergency equipment, surveyed 1,050 U.S. adults between Jan. 11-13 about their handwashing habits and their flu- and COVID-19-related concerns.

Around 57% of respondents said they’re washing their hands at least six times a day. That’s down from 78% in April, when the previous survey was conducted. Additionally, 53% of the respondents to the latest survey wash their hands after returning home – a drop from 67% last year.

The length of time spent handwashing also decreased. In January, 67% of the respondents said they scrubbed their hands for at least 20 seconds – the time recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In April, that percentage was 77.


Other key findings:

  • In January, 48% of the respondents said they rinsed their hands with only water, rather than using both soap and water, compared with 27% in April.
  • 38% are reminding friends and family members to wash their hands – down from 54% last year.
  • Despite the drop in handwashing habits, 81% are concerned about contracting COVID-19.

“We’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue, but it’s important to maintain handwashing vigilance,” Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley, said in a press release. “Taking at least 20 seconds to thoroughly clean your hands by washing them vigorously with soap and water – and drying them thoroughly – is time well spent.”

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