Men Are Reluctant to Wash Hands after Using the Bathroom


Hygiene enthusiasts across the world celebrated the World Day of Handwashing some time ago – on October, 5. It is this simple thing that prevents the spreading of diseases such as norovirus and influenza. Yet, not everyone washes hands with soap and tends to do this only after being shamed into it.


In the experiment conducted by researchers of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London service stations were equipped with electronic displays showing slogans to encourage handwashing. Slogans read “Water does not kill germs, soap does”, or, “Don’t be a dirty soap dodger”. During the experiment, restrooms were used by more than 250,000 people, and the soap use was monitored by sensors. The results showed only 32 percent of men used soap. Women were more sensible with 64 percent of hand washers.

After analyzing the effectiveness of messages to prompt handwashing, researchers found “Is the person next to you washing with soap?” was the most effective. This message made 12 percent more toilet users wash hands with soap. It’s interesting to note the difference in how the messages influenced men and women. Men were more likely to respond positively to disgust-invoking messages like “Soap it off or eat it later”, while women acted on simple reminders.

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