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Safety in the Public Restroom: Hygiene and Air Dryers

June 16, 2020
Bathroom cleanliness perceptions are changing following COVID-19.

Consumers are expecting higher hygiene standards in public restrooms following COVID-19. 

Following shutdowns and new illness prevention processes, a new study shows that Americans are changing preferences for hand drying in public restrooms.

The research funded by Tork, an Essity brand in conjunction with United Minds and CINT, found that the public is beginning to prefer paper towels over air dryers.

Alberto Cajiga, Essity vice president of marketing, Professional Hygiene, says, "The pandemic has shown that all businesses need to adapt to a new hygiene standard. While some facilities might have chosen air dryers before the pandemic, the perceived ease of air dryers isn't enough anymore."

Facility managers and respondents report that they no longer feel safe with air dryers. Seventy-one percent of survey takers indicated they believe paper hand towels are more hygienic. In addition, 43% expressed concern about air dryers spreading viruses and bacteria.

The perception of public hygiene has changed overall, with 86% of respondents saying that keeping a high hygiene standard in public restrooms is "critical to public safety." 

Americans are changing their purchasing habits based on restroom hygiene as well, with more than 40% indicating saying they are "less likely" to shop at places that do not offer paper hand towels. One-third of respondents say they feel "unsafe" entering a bathroom with air dryers.

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