Customers Reward Businesses With Clean Restrooms

Annual handwashing survey reveals public restroom preferences

February 12, 2020

Businesses looking to make their facility more attractive to potential customers should put their money where their toilet is, according to findings from Brady Corp.’s 11th annual Healthy Handwashing Survey.

The online survey of 1,005 Americans ages 14 years and older found 62% of respondents would definitely or probably spend more money in a business with clean public restrooms, a dramatic increase from 45% who responded to the question the same way in last year’s survey. The 2020 survey found almost 60% of respondents will leave a business immediately and are unlikely to return if they encounter a dirty restroom.

The survey also found almost three in four Americans will visit a facility specifically because it has clean restrooms, especially women, millennials, and Generation Xers. Restroom patrons like businesses that take restroom cleanliness seriously, with more than half of survey respondents admitting that seeing a cleaning schedule posted in a restroom makes them feel more positive about a business.

A record high number of Americans surveyed in 2020—76%—report having a particularly bad public restroom encounter such as:

  • Clogged/unflushed toilets (85%)
  • Empty/jammed toilet paper dispensers (83%)
  • Stall doors that don’t latch shut (78%).

Although 97% of survey participants believe it’s important to wash their hands after visiting a restroom, they admitted poor restroom conditions sometimes cause them to skip handwashing, such as a lack of soap and/or paper towels and nonfunctioning sinks. When asked if they washed their hands every time, older generations were more likely to respond affirmatively:

  • 91% of baby boomers wash every time
  • 85% of Generation Xers and millennials wash every time
  • 82% of Generation Z respondents wash every time.


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