Half of Americans and Canadians skip soap when washing hands

People hold businesses to much higher hygienic standards than they hold themselves to, according to a recent survey.

40% of Americans and 53% of Canadians say they sometimes wash their hands without soap, according to a survey by global hygiene company SCA and IPOBE Zogbe International. The survey was commissioned in honor of Global Handwashing Day (October 15th, for expats who aren’t in the know).

It consisted of 3,000 respondents, including US and Canadian adults and US college students. Questions examined both respondents’ personal handwashing habits and their expectations for businesses.

Key findings:

  • Nearly 25% of Americans and Canadians do not wash their hands after sneezing.
  • Over 50% of respondents do not wash their hands after handling money.
  • Fewer than 55% of US and Canadian adults wash their hands after using public transportation or going to the gym.
Ironically, however, those same respondents held businesses to a much higher standard:
  • 80% said they would avoid a restaurant with unclean bathrooms.
  • Over 70% said they would avoid a healthcare facility with unclean bathrooms.
  • 90% said they would think less of a restaurant with inadequate handwashing tools.
Donna Duberg, Assistant professor of Clinical Laboratory Science at Saint Louis University, commented:
Handwashing continues to be one of the most important steps we can take to avoid spreading germs and infections to others, both in our personal and professional lives. Ensuring that there is regular handwashing education and on-site supplies are easily accessible and adequately stocked is essential for customer retention and infection control in any business or facility.