Scrubbing Up on Hand Washing One Year Into the Pandemic

Water continues to play a critical role in our daily lives, but water has been front-and-center this past year as hand hygiene has become a focal point. American Water has helped keep people’s lives flowing by offering clean, safe, reliable water throughout the pandemic and we wanted to better understand how consumers’ behaviors involving water may have changed over the past year, especially when it comes to hand washing. We partnered with OnePoll to survey 2,000 Americans about their hand hygiene habits at the onset of the pandemic compared to today.

According to the survey, hand hygiene is still top of mind for most, but people’s commitment to proper hand washing habits is beginning to fade.

Consumers are still washing their hands often. The average person polled washes their hands an average of nine times a day, but it doesn’t feel like enough. In fact, nearly half of Americans feel like no matter how often they wash their hands, it’s never enough.

Good habits are starting to slip. 65% of respondents said their hygiene habits have improved over the past year, but 42% admitted to letting things slide over the past few months. While guidelines are still active around the country, respondents are, admitting that they don’t wash their hands, even though they know they probably should.

20 seconds is starting to feel long. Even though 90% of respondents are aware of the CDC’s recommendation to wash their hands for 20 seconds, 41% said counting down is starting to get old. While hand washing still ranks as a top priority among respondents, nearly 20% admitted to no longer washing their hands for 20 seconds when returning home from running an errand.

Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important practices we can do to help prevent the spread of germs. Please consider the following motivational tips to keep your hand hygiene top of mind:

Change your tune. Singing “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end twice while washing your hands can help to make sure you’re scrubbing for 20 seconds, but you can come up with a new song to pass the time with this hand washing lyric generator.

Brush up on the facts. Hand washing has always been important – get a refresher by checking out a list of benefits published by the American Water Works Association before the pandemic. Be sure to view the CDC’s list of reminders about when to wash your hands.

Don’t take water for granted. While we’re focusing on using water to clean our hands, don’t forget to conserve where you can. Look into some of our easy tricks for lowering your water usage – such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth – that can help balance our impact on the world’s water supply.

As we move forward, it’s important for us to maintain proper hygiene habits, beginning with hand washing. At American Water, we take pride in delivering the high-quality water that’s essential to make that possible. Learn more about how we work every day to continue providing this valuable resource, so our customers won’t have to imagine a day without water.