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Public Doesn’t Understand Importance of Hand Drying

Survey finds less than half of Americans believe hand drying is critical to infection control

September 14, 2020

The importance of washing your hands after using the restroom, especially during a pandemic, is undisputable. A poll of 1,066 adults commissioned by Cascades PRO found that 84% say it is extremely important to wash your hands after using a public restroom.

However, the value of drying your hands is not as understood, with only 48% of respondents saying it is extremely important to dry your hands after using a public restroom. Health experts say bacteria are more likely to be transmitted from wet skin than dry skin, making proper hand drying a critical component of the hand-hygiene process.

Overall, the poll found that Americans are washing their hands more due to COVID-19. Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents say they are washing their hands more often than they previously were. Americans are also starting to think about how they dry their hands, with more than half (51%) of survey respondents saying due to COVID-19, they are giving more thought to how they dry their hands after washing.

The poll also found:

  • About 6 in 10 (61%) of respondents prefer paper towels from a touchless dispenser when drying their hands in a public restroom.
  • About one-quarter of respondents (23%) say they prefer touchless air dryers.
  • More than half (57%) of respondents said pre-pandemic they preferred paper towels from a touchless dispenser.
  • The same number of respondents (23%) say they preferred touchless air dryers pre-pandemic and well as during the pandemic.
  • Of respondents that prefer paper towels, the majority (57%) say they believe the towels dry more thoroughly than other methods.

Americans reported using paper towels for more than just drying their hands. When asked how they typically use paper towels in a restroom:

  • 56% reporting using them to cover their hand while opening a door
  • 43% reported using them to turn sink faucets on or off.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, 71% of Americans say they are more concerned with touching surfaces in public restrooms. To prevent contact with restroom surfaces:

  • 62% of respondents want touchless ways to enter restrooms
  • 59% want automatic toilet flushers
  • 59% want touchless trash cans.

Learn more about no-touch restroom dispensers and features.

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