Person washing their hands with soap

Despite widespread adoption of increased cleaning and disinfecting practices in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, just over half of Americans are mindful of washing their hands for at least 20 seconds, and one in 10 have not made any changes to their hand hygiene practices.

These figures on handwashing habits during the coronavirus pandemic were gathered in a new poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI).

The survey asked respondents what changes, if any, they have made to their hand hygiene practices since learning about the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey was conducted to pinpoint current gaps in consumer cleaning for disease prevention and respond with effective guidance.

About three-quarters of respondents say they washed their hands with soap and water more frequently, while 46 percent were using hand sanitizers more often.

“In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, it’s an important time to re-emphasize proper handwashing habits, including washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” says Melissa Hockstad, ACI president & CEO.

When asked what hygiene or cleaning products they have used more of since learning about the novel coronavirus, Americans say:

Hand soap – 69%

Hand sanitizer – 59%

Multi-purpose disinfectant wipes – 44%

Multi-purpose spray disinfectant – 36%

Paper towels – 35%

Toilet or bathroom cleaner – 23%

Bleach – 9%

None of these products – 12%

“It’s important for all of us to purchase these products as needed and use them properly and safely,” says Hockstad. “Soap, sanitizer and cleaning product manufacturers and their chemical and packaging suppliers are working tirelessly to get these products to market and to the institutions where there is the most critical need.”

The results described are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 18-19, 2020. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.