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Cleaning roundup news: The truth about hand washing

Posted on: Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

People fail to wash hands

Many people across the world are putting themselves and others in danger by failing to wash their hands properly, according to new findings.

A report published by WIN/Gallup International has revealed that one in three people across the world fail to wash their hands.

The vast majority (65 per cent) of those polled across 64 countries ‘agree' that washing their hands with soap and water is something they do automatically.

However, 26 per cent were less certain of their hand washing habits, while just under one in ten (eight per cent) disagree.

Some 62,398 across the world were surveyed for the study, which found that people from China and Japan were significantly less likely to automatically use soap and water (23 per cent and 30 per cent respectively).

On the other hand, those from Saudi Arabia were the most likely to wash their hands with soap and water.

Speaking about the findings, Jean-Marc Leger, president of WIN/Gallup International Association, said: "It is estimated 15 per cent of the global population defecates in the open while 35 per cent have no access to safe toilet facilities. Our research shows that an alarmingly high number of people across the world are not washing their hands with soap under water, either through lack of facilities or bad habits."

Those from Europe and Greece reportedly had the most hygienic hand washing habits with 85 per cent stating that they wash their hands regularly.

On the other hand, people from Holland were least likely at 50 per cent.

Interestingly, citizens from Columbia were the cleanest in the Americas, with 93 per cent agreeing that they automatically wash their hands with soap, while Mexico was the least likely to agree with 32 per cent either simply somewhat agreeing.

Commenting, Dr Myriam Sidibe, the hygiene and nutrition social mission director for Unilever, said: "We know that there are around 11 occasions in a day where we should wash our hands with soap, yet soap is only used about 1 to 2 times in a day and sometimes as little as once in a week.”

The data showed that across the world, 440 million school days are lost every year due to water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases according to a World Health Organisation/UNICEF 2013 report. 

According to the study, hand washing with soap alone could save over 650,000 lives each year.

Healthcare workers putting lives at risk

Last month Spanish researchers revealed that some healthcare workers may be putting their patients at risk by failing to clean their hands properly.

Analysts revealed that fewer than 40 per cent of clinicians apply sanitiser to their thumbs, while just 37.45 per cent of clinicians completely covered the area around their thumbs.