Neglect of Public Restrooms on the Rise

Friday, March 4th, 2016
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According to a survey that tracks attitudes toward restroom facilities, almost 70 per cent report having a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities, an increase of nearly 20 per cent since 2012.

That’s bad news for businesses, since people say they judge establishments based on the state of their restrooms. According to the 2016 Healthy Hand Washing Survey, conducted by Bradley Corporation, most consumers believe a bad restroom indicates poor management, lowers their opinion of the company, shows the business doesn’t care about customers, and makes them think the company is lazy or sloppy.

Bradley also delved into what factors makes restrooms so unappealing. Chief restroom grievances include toilets that are clogged or not flushed, a really bad smell, an overall appearance that’s dirty, unkempt, or old, and partition doors that don’t latch closed.

Key restroom improvements people would most like to see include improved cleanliness, a completely touchless experience, better stocking of restroom supplies, and a never-ending supply of paper towels — even if there are dryers.


As for restroom improvements they’ve seen over the past two to three years in specific types of facilities, respondents gave the highest marks to medical buildings, airports, restaurants, and higher education facilities. At the other end of the spectrum, restrooms in convenience stores, gas stations, and truck stops deteriorated the most.

Patrons make no secret about their disdain for coming into contact with germs in public restrooms. Restroom entrance door handles, stall handles, and faucet handles are the surfaces that make them the most squeamish. Almost 60 per cent of respondents say they operate the toilet flusher with their foot to avoid germs. More than half use a paper towel to cover the door handle, while others use their back side to open and close doors.

The Healthy Hand Washing Survey queried 1,062 adults online from December 10 to 13, 2015, about their handwashing habits in public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds, and the flu. Participants were from around the country, were 18 years and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (47 per cent and 53 per cent).


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