A recent survey conducted by restroom fixture manufacturer Bradley Corporation reveals why public restrooms have a bad reputation. The 2016 Healthy Hand Washing Survey polled 1,062 American adults to identify areas that most people try to avoid, the actions they take in public restrooms and suggestions for businesses that maintain public restrooms.
The survey found that the majority of Americans don’t mind using cell phones to text, check emails, post on social media sites and surf the web in restroom stalls. Six per cent of survey respondents admitted to taking a photo while in a restroom stall, while eight per cent of men reveal they’ve used that time to check their fantasy sports league. Thanks to this habit, London scientists have said in the past that one out of every six cell phones tests positive for fecal matter.
Consumers stated that although they take their phones in the bathroom with them, they dislike handling restroom surfaces. Door handles, stall doors and faucets were the most unpopular surfaces to touch, followed by countertops, sinks and soap and towel dispensers. To avoid touching these surfaces, many people use their bodies to avoid coming in contact with restroom germs. For example, many people operate the toilet flusher with their foot, use a paper towel to touch the restroom door and faucet handles and open and close doors with their hip.
However, this does not stop consumers from not using soap to wash their hands. Almost 80 per cent of respondents said they frequently or occasionally see others leave a public restroom without washing their hands, especially in the men’s room, as 20 per cent of men said they don’t wash their hands because they “didn’t feel the need.” However, many of the respondents that admitted to not washing their hands said facility issues got in the way, as most said there was a lack of paper towels or soap in the bathroom. Also at fault were sinks, which many reported to be broken or too unclean to use.
Some restroom issues cause more anger than others. The survey found that the situation that aggravates people most is a jammed or empty toilet paper dispenser, followed closely by cubicle doors that don’t latch, a dirty or unkempt appearance and empty or jammed paper towel or soap dispensers.
Overall, consumers think poorly of businesses with restrooms that are dirty or unkempt. Most Americans surveyed believe a messy or dirty restroom connotes poor management and shows that the business does not care about its appearance or its customers.
Unfortunately, positive bathroom experiences seem to be on the decline among those surveyed, as 70 per cent say they have recently had an unpleasant experience due to the conditions in a public restroom, a 51 per cent increase over results from 2012. About half of respondents also find the restrooms at their workplace to be in less than good condition.
Consumers surveyed had a list of improvements to make restroom experiences better. This list includes more frequent cleaning, access to all touchless fixtures, regular stocking of materials and a large supply of paper towels, even if there are hand dryers.