According to a recent survey, 42 percent of people say they frequently or occasionally see people leave the work restroom without washing their hands. Fifty-seven percent estimate that they wash for just five to 15 seconds, short of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of at least 20 seconds.

In fact, the number of people who always wash their hands fell by two to three percentage points this year, according to Bradley Corp. representatives responsible for the study. The belief behind this statistic is that this is the first year in over four years that the U.S. hasn't been plagued with a health pandemic.

Health experts have long promoted hand washing to prevent the spread of illness, though many continue to ignore their advice.

Some survey respondents blame unpleasant restroom environments for the lack of hand washing. The survey found that 51 percent of Americans say they've had a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities. Most respondents cited a bad smell as the number one cause. Toilets that were clogged or not flushed, and bathrooms that looked old, dirty or unkempt followed as the second and third most common problems.

For businesses, an unclean restroom is troublesome. Survey respondents equated it with poor management and 31 percent said they would never frequent the business again.

Insufficient stock will also prevent hand washing. In fact, 62 percent of respondents admitted that they have simply rinsed their hands with water because no soap or towels were available, or they simply used hand sanitizers instead.

In reality, everyone should wash their hands after every restroom visit and before eating. Soap and water is the best defense against germs. When washing, work soap into a lather and scrub hands together for a full 20 seconds, or as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice. Then rinse and dry thoroughly.

If no water source is available to wash up, hand sanitizer is a strong second option. Choose a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Also, use enough product to wet hands completely, and rub hands together to entirely cover the surface. It should take at least 15 seconds to dry.

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