How Handwashing Habits Differ By Gender
According to Bradley Corp.'s annual Healthy Handwashing Survey, women have reclaimed their leading position in handwashing diligence after being outperformed by men the past two years.
Throughout 2020, 2021 and 2022, Bradley Corporation conducted its survey several times to explore Americans’ handwashing habits, concerns about the coronavirus and flu and their use of public restrooms.
Not surprisingly, during the early days of the pandemic, the survey found both sexes elevated their hand hygiene. Results of the April 2020 Healthy Handwashing Survey showed each gender increased their handwashing frequency, washed more thoroughly and took more time to cleanse their hands.
Flash forward to 2022 and the survey revealed that men had drastically reduced their handwashing frequency by cutting it in half. Men went from a high-water mark of washing their hands approximately 10 times a day in April 2020 to five times a day in 2022. Women also reduced their frequency but not as significantly. Women went from 11 times a day in 2020 to eight times a day in 2022.
In addition, the 2022 survey charted a troubling increase in the rinse-and-run phenomenon. In the early days of the pandemic, 36 percent of men and 18 percent of women said they skipped soaping up. Now, two years later, nearly half of men (49 percent) and nearly a third of women (32 percent) confess they’ve shortchanged the handwashing process with a quick rinse.
While men may be backsliding more than women in some areas, they are outperforming women in the final step of hand hygiene. When it comes to hand drying, 70 percent of men said they’re drying their hands more completely these days in contrast to 63 percent of women who are doing so.
However, the genders were fairly aligned in two areas. When asked whether they would continue their handwashing diligence post pandemic, 52 percent of women and 47 percent of men said they planned to stick with their more aggressive routine. Men and women were also similar in how news coverage of flu outbreaks, Covid-19 and new strains of the virus impacted their handwashing behavior. 42 percent of women and 39 percent of men said it had a significant effect on their actions.
“Handwashing is a quick and easy health step that should be vigorously maintained year-round,” says Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. "It takes just 20 seconds and is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and illness.”
This year, the annual Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corp. queried 1,035 American adults Jan. 10-21. Participants were from around the country and were fairly evenly split between men (46 percent) and women (54 percent).
For more insight from the Bradley Corp. handwashing survey, click here.