The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

2011 Parent and Child Handwashing Survey


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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

Because cleaning matters, handwashing in schools has been a priority since 1926 where we focus on behavior, cleaning supplies and education. In September 2011, ACI conducted an online survey of parents and children where we looked at parental influences on children's handwashing practices, handwashing practices in schools and school bathroom ratings.

Here are some preliminary results...

Room for improvement in kids’ handwashing behaviors at school

  • While the overwhelming majority of children say they always wash their hands after they use the toilet at school, fewer do so before eating a snack (49%) or after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing (53%).
  • Over a quarter of kids (26%) admit that they only wash their hands at school when they look dirty.

Time constraints, lack of cleanliness, and shortage of supplies top the list of barriers to children washing their hands at school more often

  • Two-thirds of kids (66%) report that they don’t have the time to wash their hands as much as they should at school.
  • Nearly half of kids (47%) agree that they sometimes don’t use the bathroom at school because it isn’t clean.

Children report lower ratings of their school’s bathroom than their parents do

  • Over a third of kids (37%) would give their school’s bathroom a rating of "fair" or "poor," while only 22% of parents provide the same rating


If you are a parent, visit the ACI Facebook page and tell us about your children's school bathroom.