Public washrooms have remained popularly used despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but a notable trend has been more people looking for touchless facilities.
That’s according to the Bradley Corp.’s latest Healthy Handwashing Survey, which queried 1,050 American adults on their public washroom usage, handwashing habits, and concerns about infectious disease.
Of the survey’s respondents, half said they continued to use public washrooms throughout the pandemic just like they always had. Just 13 per cent said they completely avoided using those facilities, while 37 per cent said they were uncomfortable but had, at times, utilized public washrooms when necessary.
The most common locations for public washroom use were stores, restaurants, and workplaces.
The majority of washroom visitors took extra precautions to reduce their likelihood of coming in contact with germs. 63 per cent used paper towels as a protective barrier when operating the flusher, faucet handles, or door handles, while others used parts of their body other than their hands to flush or open and close doors.
Strong preference for touchless
A huge majority of 84 per cent said it’s important to have touchless fixtures in public washrooms, and nearly 70 per cent say they’re more likely to return to a business that has these touchless options. Over half (56 per cent) have a negative impression of a business that doesn’t have touchless fixtures. Primary desires for touchless fixtures are flushers, faucets, and entrance doors.
“Touchless restroom fixtures add a significant level of comfort for Americans when they’re out and about and need to use a public restroom,” says Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “We’ve all become more cognizant of potentially germy touch points so eliminating an area of concern is another way we can help resume our normal lives again.”
Germ concerns are significant
The Healthy Handwashing Survey, conducted in January 2021, found that 86 per cent of Americans are more conscious about coming in contact with germs as a result of the coronavirus.
This has led to a spike in handwashing and drying: nearly 90 per cent are washing their hands more frequently or more thoroughly as a result of COVID-19. 57 per cent are washing their hands six to 15 times or more per day, and 73 per cent are drying their hands more frequently or more thoroughly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands; therefore, hands should be dried after washing.”
Overall, Americans correctly believe handwashing is a better germ-fighter than hand sanitizer. 61 per cent understand the CDC directive that hands are less germy after washing with soap and water than after using hand sanitizer, although sanitizer remains the best second option.
“Handwashing remains one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay healthy and reduce the likelihood of spreading germs or viruses to others,” says Dommisse. “When you pair soap and water with vigorous and thorough scrubbing, you’re literally removing and sending bacteria and germs down the drain.”