Search:
Clean Living Masthead New
 

2011 Handwashing Survey Findings

American Cleaning Institute 2011 Parents’ & Kids’ Handwashing Attitudes & Behaviors Study Findings

The following questions were asked of 521 parents of children 8-17 years old and 512 children 8-17 years old. Children were not those of parents surveyed. The online survey was conducted by Russell Research between September 7-13, 2011, on behalf of the American Cleaning Institute.

Children’s Survey Highlights:

Which of the following are reasons that you don’t wash your hands as much as you should at school?:

  • Don’t have the time (43%)
  • Don’t like going to the bathroom at my school (21%)
  • Bathrooms don’t have the necessary supplies (19%)
  • No one reminds me to (16%)
  • The bathrooms at my school are disgusting (15%)
  • No one else does it (14%)
     

Which of the following would you change about your school’s bathroom?

  • Better smell (53%)
  • Bathrooms are cleaned more often (44%)
  • Cleaner toilets (39%)
  • More soap (28%)
  • Need handwashing reminder posters (21%)
     

When asked how often they wash their hands at school, the percentage of children who:

  • Always wash their hands after using the toilet (89%)
  • Always wash their hands after touching garbage (74%)
  • Always wash their hands before eating lunch (65%)
  • Always wash their hands after gym class (60%)
  • Always wash their hands after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing (53%)
     

The percentage of children who agree with the following statements:

  • Watching my friends wash their hands at school makes me remember to wash mine. 77% Agree
  • My school schedule does not give me the time for washing my hands before eating lunch. 49% Agree
  • My school always has all of the soap, water, paper towels, and drying equipment I need to wash my hands. 63% Agree
  • Sometimes I don’t use the bathroom because it isn’t clean. 47% Agree
  • Washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to keep from getting sick. 97% Agree
  • I’ve seen my parents use the bathroom and not wash their hands after. 20% Agree

 


Parents’ Survey Highlights:

How often do you believe your child washes their hands at school when doing the following activities?:

  • I believe my child always washes their hands after using the toilet (76%)
  • I believe my child always washes their hands after touching garbage (67%)
  • I believe my child always washes their hands before eating lunch (59%)
  • I believe my child always washes their hands after gym class (45%)
  • I believe my child always washes their hands after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing (51%)
     

The percentage of children who agree with the following statements: 

  • My child sometimes forgets to wash their hands they are supposed to. 78% Agree
  • There are times when I use the bathroom and then not wash my hands. 33% Agree
  • I always make my child wash their hands before meals at home. 79% Agree
  • I have taught my child how long they should spend washing their hands. 66% Agree
  • My child’s school schedule provides time for them to wash their hands before eating. 63% Agree
  • I believe my child’s school always has all of the soap, water, paper towels and drying equipment they need to wash their hands. 83% Agree
  • My child sometimes doesn’t use the bathroom at school because it isn’t clean. 28% Agree
     

Which of the following hand hygiene products, if any, have you ever donated to your child’s school?

  • Hand sanitizer (58%)
  • Paper towels (28%)
  • Hand soap (16%)
  • Tissues (4%)
     

Survey Implications

  • Time constraints, lack of cleanliness and shortage of supplies top the list of barriers to children washing their hands at school more often.
  • Parents admit not always leading by example when it comes to handwashing.
  • There is room for improvement in kids’ handwashing behaviors at school.
  • Children report lower ratings of their school’s bathroom than their parents do.
  • Parents overestimate how well-stocked the bathrooms are at their child’s school.

Return to survey news release