40% of Americans don’t always wash their hands after going to the bathroom

Jamie BallardData Journalist
January 30, 2020, 4:00 PM UTC

We’re officially in the midst of flu season. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of germs - but not everyone is heeding that advice.

A YouGov poll of more than 24,000 US adults finds that many Americans don’t always wash their hands with soap after they go to the bathroom.

Over half (58%) of US adults say they always wash their hands with soap after going to the restroom at home. A quarter (25%) say they wash with soap most of the time after a trip to the bathroom at home, while 10% do this some of the time and 4 percent rarely do.



The generation that’s least likely to use deodorant might also be the least likely to consistently wash their hands. 

Fewer than half of 18-to 24-year-olds (48%) say that they always wash their hands with soap after using the restroom at home. A quarter of people in this age group say they wash their hands most of the time, while 13% say they wash their hands some of the time when they use the bathroom. 

Women (63%) are more likely than men (53%) to say they always wash their hands with soap after they use the restroom at home. One in twenty (5%) men say they rarely wash their hands with soap after going to the bathroom at home. 

For those who do wash with soap, the most popular hand soap brand among US adults is Dawn. Nearly half (48%) of US adults would consider purchasing Dawn products, according to data from YouGov BrandIndex. Roughly four in 10 would consider buying from Clorox (44%), Dove (40%), and Colgate (38%).  

Data in YouGov Profiles suggests that many Americans are also using their cell phones — which are actually 10 times more germ-infested than toilet seats, according to one scientific study — while they go to the bathroom. 

About one in seven (14%) US adults say they always use their phones while they’re going to the bathroom. Another 18 percent use their phones most times when they go to the restroom, while 23% sometimes do. One in five (20%) say they rarely use their phone while they’re going to the bathroom, while 22 percent say they never do. 

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Related: Young Americans less likely to be meat-eaters

Image: Getty