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09-21-09 Summary

The Soap and Detergent Association

2009 National Clean Hands Report Card® Survey Findings

The following questions were asked of 888 American adults (446 men and 442 women). The independent consumer research study was completed August 6-9, 2009, on behalf of The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), by Echo Research. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.

Approximately how many times do you wash your hands on an average day?

Results:

  • More than 10 times (50%); up 14% from 2008
  • 7-10 times (20%); down 6% from 2008
  • 5-6 times (18%); down 6% from 2008
  • 3-4 times (10%); down 2% from 2008
  • 1-2 times (1%) same as 2008

Additional Insights:

  • 14% more Americans are washing their hands at least 10 times per day. However, while 62% of women are washing more than 10 times per day, only 37% of men are doing the same.
  • 41% of men wash their hands 6 times a day or less, compared to only 17% of women.
  • On average, American heads of household wash their hands 8.6 times per day (up from 8.0 in 2008).

When you wash your hands, how long do you typically lather them, or rub them with soap?

Results:

  • More than 20 seconds (26%); up 1% from 2008
  • 15-20 seconds (27%); same as 2008
  • 10-15 seconds (31%); down 2% from 2008
  • Less than 10 seconds (15%); up 2% from 2008

Additional Insights:

  • 46% of heads of household do not wash their hands for maximum efficacy. Every one should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds.
  • 57% of women report they wash their hands for at least 15 seconds, as do 49% of men.

How often do you wash your hands after you cough or sneeze?

Results:

  • Always (26%); up 4% from 2008
  • Frequently (34%); down 3% from 2008
  • Seldom (31%); down 1% from 2008
  • Never (8%); up 1% from 2008

Additional Insights:

  • Only 60% of American heads of household always or frequently wash their hands after they cough or sneeze. 39% seldom or never do.
  • Women are much more likely to wash their hands after they cough or sneeze. According to the data, 71% of women always or frequently wash afterwards, as compared to only 48% of men. Additionally, 51% seldom or never wash up after coughing or sneezing, as compared to 29% of women.

How often do you wash your hands before eating lunch?

Results:

  • Always (67%); up 6% from 2008
  • Frequently (21%); down 4% from 2008
  • Seldom (9%); down 1% from 2008
  • Never (4%); same as 2008

Additional Insights:

  • Not everyone follows the routine of washing their hands before lunch, as evidenced by 33% who don’t always wash before eating lunch.
  • 88% of American heads of household always or frequently wash their hands before eating lunch. 12 percent seldom or never do.
  • Males and females are equally likely to wash up before eating lunch.

How often do you wash your hands after going to the bathroom?

Results:

  • Always (90%); up 5% from 2008
  • Frequently (6%); down 4% from 2008
  • Seldom (1%); down 1% from 2008
  • Never (3%); same as 2008

Additional Insights:

  • 96% of American heads of household always or frequently wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. 4 percent seldom or never do.