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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Study: Adults Still Don't Know How to Wash Their Hands After Going Potty. Gross.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Lather up, kid - FLICKR/ROB, JOYCE, ALEX & NOVA

As big proponents of hand-washing, we're a little grossed out to leave the house today after reading that only 5 percent of people who wash their hands after using the toilet actually do it properly enough to keep the nastiness at bay.

Michigan State University researchers observed 3,749 people in public restrooms -- at bars, restaurants, porta potties -- and discovered that people in general don't seem to get it when it comes to basic hygiene.

More results from the study, which will appear in the Journal of Environmental Health:

  • 33 percent of hand washers didn't bother to use soap

  • 10 percent didn't wash their hands at all.

  • Men were particularly bad at washing their hands correctly (not a shocker)

  • 15 percent of men didn't wash their hands at all, compared with 7 percent of women.

  • When they did wash their hands, only 50 percent of men used soap, compared with 78 percent of women.

  • People were less likely to wash their hands if the sink was dirty.

  • Hand washing was more prevalent earlier in the day.

  • People were more likely to wash their hands if a sign encouraging them to do so was present.

  • It takes 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with soap and water to effectively kill the germs, the CDC says, yet the study found that people are only washing their hands, on average, for about 6 seconds.

Here's your incentive to lather your mitts:

"Imagine you're a business owner and people come to your establishment and get foodborne illness through the fecal-oral route - because people didn't wash their hands - and then your reputation is on the line," said Carl Borchgrevink, associate professor of hospitality business and lead investigator on the study. "You could lose your business."

Now for your refresher course:

And some advice from the doctors themselves.

Now please, go wash your hands.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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