Restroom Confidential: 5 things we do - and don't do - in public restrooms

Posted by Steve Thielke on Jul 25, 2017 10:00:00 AM

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To keep a pulse on American’s preferences, behaviors and actions in public restrooms, Bradley conducts an annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey.

Here’s a peek into our 2017 survey – see what goes on behind closed restroom doors:

#1 We become germophobic.

Americans clearly have a disdain for touching germs in restrooms and have come up with some creative ways to avoid contact. Here are our most common avoidance strategies:

  • operating the toilet flusher with our foot
  • hovering over the toilet seat
  • using a paper towel as a barrier when touching the restroom door and faucet handles
  • opening and closing doors with our hip

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#2 We have awkward moments.

Do you have an embarrassing restroom story?  Unfortunately, many of our embarrassments stem from poor restroom maintenance. Among the most common:

  • someone opening the stall door while they’re using it (incidentally, broken latches are a top frustration in restrooms)
  • discovering the toilet paper dispenser is empty
  • clogging the toilet while using it
  • walking into the wrong gender’s restroom

#3 We take cell phone breaks.

Using cell phones in restroom stalls is no longer taboo in our tech-savvy society. Texting, checking/sending email, checking/posting on social media and surfing the web are common restroom pastimes. It’s no wonder that London scientists say one out of six cell phones tests positive for fecal matter!

#4 We skip out early.

A surprisingly high number – 82% -- of Americans frequently or occasionally see others leave a public restroom without washing. And, 67% confess they’ve taken a short cut by skipping the soap and simply rinsing with water.

#5 We comprehend hand washing sign language.

While we sometimes blow off soaping up, hand washing reminders posted in restrooms keep us on task. Almost 40% of Americans admit they’re more likely to wash their hands after seeing a sign that requires employees to wash before returning to work. Men are particularly susceptible to these notices — 44% of men say signage motivates them to wash vs. 34% of women. Post those signs!

Topics: healthy handwashing

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