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This Labor Day as Americans take a final outing before summer comes to an end, research has found their advance prep includes increased hand hygiene. 

According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corporation, 60 percent of adults make a conscious effort to wash their hands more before a planned trip. And, once they hit the road, 75 percent say they try to suds up whenever they stop. For those who are flying, 69 percent specifically visit airport restrooms to keep their hands clean and germ free. 

“Our research shows that when people have travel plans or a special occasion coming up, they step up their handwashing regimen to make sure they stay healthy,” says Jon Dommisse, vice president of marketing and strategy for Bradley Corp. “It’s a smart move because handwashing is the simplest and easiest defense against sickness.”

When traveling, public restrooms are imperative — especially since washing with soap and water is more effective than using hand sanitizer. 

The Healthy Handwashing Survey found that Americans wash their hands 87 percent of the time after using a public restroom. If they do skip handwashing, it’s typically because soap or paper towels weren’t available or the sinks were dirty or not working. 

“Thankfully, handwashing is a matter of course for a majority of adults. We found that almost 70 percent say they feel healthier or safer immediately after washing their hands and that’s most likely because they know they’re doing something to keep themselves healthy and well,” adds Dommisse.

Public Restroom Behaviors and Germ Avoidance 

When using a public restroom, Americans take a variety of evasive measures to eliminate direct contact with germs or dirty surfaces. 62 percent say they typically grab a paper towel to avoid touching door handles, faucet handles and toilet flushers. 43 percent use their foot to flush the toilet and 31 percent hover above the toilet seat. 

With so much effort going into evading germs, it’s no wonder that 82 percent of adults believe it is important to have touchless fixtures in a public restroom. 

In fact, half of Americans say they would feel safer from germs in public restrooms if they were equipped with touch-free technology. As for the most desired restroom improvements, having touchless fixtures is once again among the top requests, along with keeping restrooms cleaner and better stocked, and always providing paper towels, even if there are hand dryers. 

The annual Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corp. queried 1,025 American adults Jan. 4-10, 2023, about their handwashing habits and their use of public restrooms. Participants were from around the country and were fairly evenly split between men (45 percent) and women (55 percent). 

For related coverage, click here for a study on how handwashing habits differ by gender.