Great Australian Washroom Survey Confirms Australia as a Nation of Squatters

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New research by Pink has revealed that 55 per cent of Australians hover or squat when using public toilets.

New research by Pink Hygiene Solutions has revealed that 55 per cent of Australians hover or squat when using public toilets and two-thirds of us have elaborate exit strategies that involve opening doors of public washrooms with our elbows, fingers, feet, and paper towels rather than touch the door handle normally.

The independent research into the behaviours and attitudes of a broad range of 492 people in Sydney and Melbourne was commissioned by Pink Hygiene Solutions to better understand Australian washroom habits. A public washroom is defined as any toilet facility away from home.

"The results show that Australians are very wary of using public washrooms, with the majority of us preferring to ‘hold on' than use a public toilet, yet 98 per cent of us need to do so at least several times a week," said Vivian Oppl,

"When we need to go, we'll go to great lengths to avoid touching surfaces, with the toilet seat (77 per cent), flush button (47 per cent) and the exit door to the washroom (36 per cent) the most feared areas to touch.

"Twice as many people now prefer to hover or squat instead of sitting on the seat, compared with 22% of respondents to Pink's 2005 ‘What Women Want' survey, showing a significant increase in concern over hygiene.

"The findings show it's time to clean up our washroom hygiene as people are highly concerned about visible cleanliness and bad smells. People will make choices about where they go based on the state of the toilet facilities.

"Stand alone public toilets, such as those in parks rank at the bottom of the list, with 93 per cent of people saying they are ‘fairly or very unhygienic'.

"Hospitals and medical facilities are perceived to be most hygienic, followed by offices, then by restaurants and hotels, and shopping centres.

"Venues for improvement include food courts/pubs/clubs, schools/universities and sporting/entertainment venues.

"Most people understand the importance of washing and drying their hands, with 78 per cent of respondents claiming they wash their hands with soap and water and 75 per cent saying their use the paper towels or hand dryers supplied.

"Pink proudly offers a range of touch-free sanitary disposal units, paper towels, soap dispensers and hand-dryers to assist tackle your washroom fears," Ms Oppl said.

Key findings of the Great Australian Washroom Survey 2009:

  •     Almost everyone uses public washrooms except 2%* of the population.

    (*thereafter not surveyed for further response)

  •     65% of people use public washrooms 2-3 times a week or more.
  •     72% of people avoid touching surfaces that many others have touched.
  •     55% of Australians hover or squat over toilet seats.
  •     61% of people exit the washroom using techniques other than simply using the door handle normally.
  •     2% of people using their feet to flush the toilet.
  •     75% dry their hands using the amenities supplied.
  •     54% prefer using a paper towels versus 30% a hand dryer, though hand dryers are thought to be more hygienic.
  •     10% of people ‘flick dry' their hands.
  •     Only 3% of people have no issues with public washrooms.


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Gina Kelly
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