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Survey Shows Men Backsliding on Hand Hygiene

May 9, 2022

Men have admittedly cut their handwashing frequency down by half since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Bradley Corp.’s annual Healthy Handwashing Survey™.

Throughout 2020, 2021, and 2022, Bradley Corp. conducted its survey to explore Americans’ handwashing habits, concerns about the coronavirus and flu, and their use of public restrooms.

Results of the April 2020 Healthy Handwashing Survey showed each gender increased their handwashing frequency, washed more thoroughly, and took more time to cleanse their hands.

The 2022 survey, however, revealed that men had drastically reduced their handwashing frequency by half. Men went from washing their hands approximately 10 times a day in April 2020 to five times a day in 2022. Women also reduced their frequency but not as significantly from 11 times a day in 2020 to eight times a day in 2022.

In addition, the 2022 survey charted an increase in the “rinse-and-run” phenomenon. In the early days of the pandemic, 36% of men and 18% of women said they skipped soaping up. Now, two years later, nearly half of men (49%) and nearly a third of women (32%) confess they’ve shortchanged the handwashing process with a quick rinse.

While men may be backsliding more than women in some areas, they are outperforming women in the final step of hand hygiene. When it comes to hand drying, 70% of men said they’re drying their hands more completely these days in contrast to 63% of women who are doing so.

However, the genders were fairly aligned in two areas. When asked whether they would continue their handwashing diligence post pandemic, 52% of women and 47% of men said they planned to stick with their more aggressive routine. Men and women were also similar in how news coverage of flu outbreaks, COVID-19, and new strains of the coronavirus impacted their handwashing behavior—42% of women and 39% of men said it had a significant effect on their actions.

The survey queried 1,035 American adults (men—46% and women—54%) from across the United States from January 10 to 21. For more information, visit www.bradleycorp.com/handwashing.

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