ACI survey finds decline in handwashing

American Cleaning Institute survey finds frequent handwashing declined 14 per cent six months into the pandemic.

During a time when cases of COVID-19 are back on the rise, it is now more important than ever to practice proper hand hygiene.

However, a recent survey conducted by Ipsos for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) found frequent handwashing declined 14 per cent six months into the pandemic.

The research, which was conducted by Ipsos for ACI, surveyed 1,005 Americans, first in March, then again in September, tracked changes in consumer cleaning behaviors spanning the first six months of the pandemic in the US.

According to the findings:

  • Two thirds of Americans say they are washing their hands with soap and water more often since the spread of COVID-19. Compared to a similar survey asked at the beginning of the pandemic in March, the proportion who report washing their hands more often has declined significantly (78 per cent in March vs 64 per cent in September).
  • In contrast to the decrease in hand washing, use of hand sanitizer has surged since the beginning of the pandemic (62 per cent in September vs 46 per cent in March).
  • Only 10 percent of Americans say that they have not made any changes to their hand hygiene practices since the spread of COVID-19. However, half of respondents continue to be mindful about washing their hands for at least twenty seconds since the beginning of the pandemic (58 per cent in March vs 51 per cent in September).
  • Hand sanitiser use is on the rise (62 per cent in September vs 46 per cent in March)

According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, handwashing is known to help reduce the spread of outbreak-related pathogens and can reduce acute respiratory infections by 20 percent.

“Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the most simple and effective measures to take in the fight against COVID-19 and other easily transmittable diseases,” said Melissa Hockstad, ACI president & CEO.

Important handwashing tips include:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Take note of the following key times to wash your hands:
    • Before, during and after preparing food
    • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
    • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
    • After handling garbage
    • After directly handling dirty laundry

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