As you’re rushing around with last-minute shopping this holiday season you’re probably not focusing on public restroom cleanliness. Below are eight common misconceptions about restroom cleanliness and hygiene provided by Cintas Corp.
- It doesn’t matter how long I wash my hands as long as I use soap – False
Evidence suggests you should scrub your hands with soap for a minimum of 15-30 seconds to effectively remove germs. Many global organizations have adopted recommendations to wash hands for 20 seconds.
- Hand sanitizers can replace washing your hands with soap and water – False
Washing hands with soap and water is the best and most effective way to reduce the number of microbes and germs on hands. Although alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, they are not as effective as soap and water when it comes to removing and inactivating gastrointestinal illness-causing germs such as Cryptosporidium, norovirus, and Clostridium difficile.
- The hotter the water used for handwashing, the better – False
Studies show that water temperature does not affect microbe removal. In fact, there is no research to prove that higher temperatures improve handwashing at all.
- You don’t have to dry your hands after washing them – False
Studies show that germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands.
- Hand dryers are more hygienic than paper towels – False
Research shows that paper towels can help remove bacteria, unlike air dryers which can increase bacteria counts. Paper towels are also less likely to contaminate other restroom users as air dryers have also been shown to spread bacteria between 3 and 6 feet from the device, increasing the chances of cross contamination.
- Hand dryers work faster – False
Studies indicate it takes approximately 10 seconds to dry hands using a paper towel while air dryers require 40 seconds to achieve similar dryness.
- I need to squat, hover, or use a seat protector to stay safe from germs – False.
Contrary to popular belief, toilet seats are one of the most often cleaned parts of a restroom.
- The stall furthest from the restroom door is the least used and therefore the cleanest – False
People tend to skip the first stall in favor of stalls farther back to have a little more privacy. Because the first stall is used least often, it’s most likely the cleanest.