4 Facts You Need To Know About Hand Hygiene


Despite the fact that we should wash our hands after using the toilet, 62% of men and 40% of women don’t actually do it. While we might not think there’s anything wrong with this, these hand hygiene facts might make you think twice.

80% of diseases are spread by touch

A staggering 80% of contagious diseases are transferred by touch alone which means that they can be easily prevented by implementing proper hand washing techniques. Touching food with contaminated hands for example spreads harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli which can lead to diarrhoeal infection. While diarrhoea remains the second most common cause of childhood death, simple and effective handwashing can reduce diarrhoea rates by 40%.

Damp hands spread bacteria too

Even if you do give your hands a good scrub after using the bathroom, if you don’t dry them thoroughly afterwards, your efforts could be pointless. Only 43% of people claim that they dry their hands after washing which is rather concerning considering that damp hands are 1000 times more likely to spread bacteria than dry hands are.

It’s also important to think about how you’re drying your hands. Re-usable cloths harbour millions of bacteria so try to opt for disposable paper towels or a hand dryer if you can.

Bacteria travels

The problem with not washing your hands is that you then transfer bacteria to everything you touch. You may not think this sounds like a big deal but studies have found:

  • The average kitchen chopping board has around 200% more faecal bacteria on it than a toilet seat does
  • Handbags can carry up to 10,000 bacteria per square inch and 30% of bags tested were found to have faecal bacteria on them
  • Smartphones can carry more than 30,000 bacteria units per swab
  • The average office desk has 400 times more bacteria on it than a toilet seat does
  • The average keyboard can also contain more bacteria than a toilet seat

Washing your hands can help fight antibiotic resistance

Washing your hands can prevent around 30% of diarrhoea-related illnesses and approximately 20% of respiratory infections such as colds. Because antibiotics are often prescribed for these health issues, thorough hand washing can help to prevent antibiotic resistance.

Overuse of antibiotic is the single biggest factor causing resistance but if a simple hand wash can prevent illness and the need to take these medicines, it can help to reduce the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop.

Source: Facts and study supported by Rentokil Initial plc. Registered in England 5393279