Americans Are Washing Their Hands Less Often than at Start of Pandemic

Americans Are Washing Their Hands Less Often than at Start of Pandemic

In 2022, only 56 percent of Americans wash their hands six to 15 times per day.

Handwashing is a fundamental way to avoid germs. When the pandemic started in 2020, it came with many uncertainties. But one thing we did know was to wash our hands. Now in the third year of the pandemic, many Americans’ handwashing frequency has changed.

Bradley Corporation, an expert in hand hygiene, has conducted yet another survey on handwashing. Since 2009, Bradley has been conducting these surveys on handwashing in America. In 2022, Bradley surveyed 1,035 adult Americans from January 10-21.

The survey showed that people are washing their hands less now than in 2020. This year, 56 percent of people surveyed washed their hands six to 15 times per day. In 2020, that number was 78 percent. (A total of 37 percent of people previously surveyed washed their hands as much before the pandemic.)

The survey also showed that not as many people are worried about getting COVID-19 as they were last year. Only 41 percent noted they were concerned, as opposed to the 53 percent in 2021. Still, 78 percent of respondents said they were concerned about germs in general. This number of concerned people has been decreasing slowly since 2020 when 89 percent of respondents were worried, compared to 86 percent in 2021.

The survey lists eight specific places where people said they were concerned about contracting germs. The top three include stores (50 percent), hospitals and doctor/dental offices (39 percent) and restaurants (34 percent).

As more and more people wash their hands less and say they aren’t as concerned about germs and catching covid-19, the way people greet each other is changing. Handshaking is becoming more common, with only 36 percent of respondents saying they avoid it compared to 49 percent in 2020.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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