October 11, 2018

Who do you wash your hands for?

Written by Essity

Girls in school uniforms washing hands

Photo Credit: Essity

It’s well established that handwashing is one of the most effective measures to prevent the spread of infections and has the power to save millions of lives. Now, a new global survey conducted by Essity – maker of Tork products – reveals that washing your hands can also have a positive impact on how people around you feel and behave. The survey was conducted between July 9 and August 6, 2018, through web panels in six different countries, collecting answers from a total of 3,060 respondents. National quotas have been used to obtain accurate representation of age and gender.

Why wash your hands for others?

Clean hands can make others more comfortable touching and interacting. People are more comfortable touching others when knowing that everyone washes their hands properly. Almost half of the survey respondents said they would be more comfortable shaking hands if they knew that others had proper hand hygiene, and almost 3 in 10 would be more comfortable touching strangers.

Clean hands can increase others’ happiness and life satisfaction. Knowing that other people wash their hands properly would have a positive impact on the state of mind for 8 in 10 respondents. 4 in 10 respondents would feel more comfortable in general, while more than 3 in 10 respondents would feel more satisfied in life, and 1 in 5 respondents would feel happier, according to the survey.

Who do you wash your hands for?

A vast majority – 8 in 10 – said they wash their hands to protect themselves, while only 1 in 10 wash their hands to protect others. However, focusing on the altruistic side of handwashing might be an effective trigger to improve handwashing practices. In fact, 1 in 4 respondents said they would wash their hands more often if they knew it had a positive impact on others.

Business people shaking hands

Photo Credit: Essity

“For whom do you wash your hands? For yourself, your family, or someone else? If we all start thinking about how our hands affect the people around us, we might be able to improve overall hand hygiene compliance and unleash the full power of our hands.” says Reneé Remijnse, Communication Director at Essity.

Essity is a proud sponsor of Global Handwashing Day 2018, a global advocacy day founded by Global Handwashing Partnership to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap.

“Most people know about the health benefits of handwashing with soap, but the impact of handwashing goes far beyond health. Global Handwashing Day is an important time to make sure we’re all washing our hands with soap at all critical times, and encouraging others to do the same”, says Carolyn Moore, Secretariat Director of the Global Handwashing Partnership.

Father helping toddler wash hands

Photo Credit: Essity

Learn More

Learn more about Essity’s Global Handwashing Day campaign and the Power of Hands survey here.