lavatory sinks in a public restroom

Businesses that make a point to clean up their restrooms may also clean up in sales, according to new national research conducted by Bradley Corporation.

The annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey reveals that almost half of Americans say they will “definitely” or “probably” spend more money at a business that has clean, well-maintained restrooms. In addition, nearly 60 percent of Americans make a conscious decision to visit a specific business because they know it has nice restrooms.

“The inherent correlation between restroom conditions, businesses and customers extends even deeper than we realized,” says Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “Our survey has previously highlighted how well-maintained restrooms increase patronage; learning that people also reward these businesses with their spending power was further confirmation of how consumers respond positively to clean restrooms.”

For restaurants, the judgment surrounding the condition of restrooms is especially tough, as 82 percent think a restaurant with dirty restrooms is “extremely” or “fairly” likely to have a dirty kitchen. Further, out of all types of facilities, restaurants and health care establishments cause Americans the most concern about workers not washing their hands.
Untidy restrooms send business down the drain
The survey also shows that when businesses let restroom maintenance slip through the cracks, they are at a high risk of jeopardizing customer satisfaction and sales.

“More than half of Americans say they are unlikely to return to a business after experiencing a poorly maintained restroom,” Dommisse said. “Others will complain to management, tell a friend or leave right away without completing their business.”

That means more businesses may be on shaky ground with customers since 70 percent of Americans report having an unpleasant restroom experience – a number that has steadily increased from 59 percent over the past three years. In fact, 42 percent said they had a bad experience within just the past two months.

When asked about the biggest pain points in restrooms, an overwhelming majority identified the following circumstances as “extremely” or “very” aggravating:
 • 83 percent Toilet clogged or not flushed
 • 78 percent Toilet paper dispenser empty or jammed
 • 74 percent Partition doors don’t latch
 • 73 percent Unpleasant smells
 • 72 percent Overall appearance is old, dirty or unkempt

Top restroom frustrations include having to walk across a wet floor (women in particular), reaching over someone to access soap and waiting in line for a hand dryer.
Flu-conscious Americans increase hand washing
The survey of 1,035 Americans, which was fielded Jan. 2-5, also delved into perceptions about this year’s pervasive flu season. Almost 60 percent of Americans are “extremely” or “quite” concerned about contracting a new or particularly resilient strain of the flu. This elevated concern appears to prompt more diligent hand washing, as 65 percent of Americans say they wash their hands more frequently or more thoroughly to avoid getting germs or passing them on to others.