Bradley Corporation: Survey finds Wisconsinites recognize health benefits of handwashing but…

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis., (March 2, 2023) — Despite pesky seasonal viruses lingering in the state, Wisconsinites are more lax about washing their hands than the rest of the country and are less concerned about contracting the flu, RSV or COVID.  

According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey™ from Bradley Corporation, a Menomonee Falls-based manufacturer of commercial handwashing fixtures, only 59% of Wisconsin residents boost their handwashing habits to protect themselves from seasonal viruses compared with 74% of Americans. In addition, in the Badger State, just 43% are concerned about coming down with a bug vs. 59% nationwide.

43% of Wisconsin residents also admit to taking handwashing shortcuts by just rinsing their hands with water rather than lathering up with soap.

Still, the vast majority (94%) of Wisconsinites believe handwashing is important to maintaining overall health – a viewpoint shared equally nationwide and touted by medical experts.

“Handwashing, using soap and warm water, is an easy and effective way to reduce the spread of disease-causing organisms,” says medical microbiologist Michael P. McCann, Ph.D., professor and chair of biology, Saint Joseph’s University. “Given the ease with which some of these organisms can be spread on solid surfaces, in food, and by other means, handwashing is something that everyone should do after activities like using the restroom.”

Relying on Handwashing to Stay Healthy

While Wisconsinites may be shortchanging their handwashing routine, almost 70% say they feel healthier or safer immediately after washing their hands.

They also rely on handwashing while traveling to stay healthy. During road trips almost 70% make a conscious effort to wash their hands wherever they stop along the way and 61% are diligent about sudsing up when at an airport.

Other instances when Wisconsinites feel the need to wash their hands include after coughing or sneezing (66%), after using a shopping cart (56%) and when returning home after being out in public (55%).

The Healthy Handwashing Survey also found that 87% of Wisconsin parents take some sort of action to encourage their children to suds up. However, only one in four parents believe their kids always follow through with handwashing when told to do so.

Negative Impressions

The survey found that 77% of Wisconsin residents have a particularly negative impression when they see someone who doesn’t wash their hands after using a restroom. 56% say seeing someone with dirty or sticky hands is also a turn off.

For businesses, poor restroom maintenance makes more than just a negative impression; an unclean or unpleasant restroom can be a sales inhibitor. 1 in 2 say an unkempt restroom impacts whether or not they’ll return to the establishment again.

On the flip side, nearly 54% of those who live in Wisconsin say they are likely to spend more at a business that has clean, well-maintained restrooms and 51% percent will make a point of stopping at a location that offers pleasant facilities.

Germ Avoidance Techniques

In public restrooms, Wisconsinites are keenly aware of coming into contact with germs and take a variety of evasive measures. 54% use a paper towel to avoid touching toilet flushers and faucet and door handles, and 35% operate the flusher with their foot.

With so much effort going into evading germs, it’s no wonder that 81% of Wisconsin residents believe it is important to have touchless fixtures in a public restroom.

“Germ avoidance and handwashing diligence are two habits that should always be a priority, and businesses can support hand hygiene by providing well-maintained restrooms,” says Jon Dommisse, vice president of marketing and corporate communication for Bradley Corp. “No matter where you are or what you’re doing, everyone should lather up, scrub thoroughly, rinse and dry their hands.”

The annual Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corp. queried 1,025 American adults and 350 Wisconsin adults Jan. 4-10, 2023, about their handwashing habits, concerns about the coronavirus and flu and their use of public restrooms. Participants were fairly evenly split between men (43%) and women (57%).

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