Wet Ones

Wet Ones

October 25, 2009 20:01 ET

London Revealed as One of the Most Unhygienic Regions in Britain

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2009) -

Strictly Embargoed until 00.01 on 26th October 2009

London residents have today been revealed as one of the most unhygienic in Britain, according to a poll of 4,000 adults by Wet Ones to launch National Hand Hygiene Awareness Week.

It seems that those living in the capital can leave it over an entire day before cleaning their hands, failing to give them a good scrub with soap and water for 30 HOURS straight, and one in two opting for a 'quick rinse under the tap' as a viable alternative.

87% of Londoners claim they frequently see others leaving the toilet without washing their hands, and 58% don't bother washing their hands after using the tube, bus or train for commuting to and from work. 67% don't bother cleaning their hands after coughing or sneezing and less than half (46%) wash their hands before eating

A spokesperson for Wet Ones which carried out the poll in conjunction with National Hand Hygiene Awareness Week, says: 

"We were very surprised by the results of the survey, which suggests that there's a huge amount of education required in the UK about the importance of hand hygiene. We shouldn't let our busy lifestyles compromise our health and hygiene – it only takes a few seconds to wash your hands and even when you're out and about you can use an antibacterial hand wipe such as Wet Ones Cleansing. Hand Hygiene Awareness Week has been launched to help and advise people on how, when and why they should be cleaning their hands to keep them germ free."

Whilst London faired badly, York was hailed as the clean-hand capital – the longest they've left it to wash their hands with soap and water is under 19 hours. The majority of those living in the historic North Yorkshire city clean their mitts before dinner, after a cough or a sneeze, and are least likely to quickly rinse them even if they're in a rush.

GMTV's Dr Hilary Jones, who's backing Hand Hygiene Awareness Week says:

"It's shocking that people go for such long periods of time without cleaning their hands. Hand Hygiene is the most effective way to stop the spreading of germs. People should regularly clean their hands before eating and after going to the toilet to prevent against germs and viruses, and the fact that some people are leaving it up to 38 hours is astonishing. Even when out & out people can clean hands by using antibacterial hand wipes."

The UK survey quizzed both men and women and revealed a number of worrying hand-cleaning habits, or lack of them, and a general unawareness of where they were coming in contact with germs throughout the day, such as:

At work…

  • The office water cooler is probably the worst offender of the lot with 2.7 million germs per square inch on the spout
  • The average desk work surface harbours over 20,000 microbes – that's 400 times more than on a loo seat!

People's hands…

  • 80% of all diseases are passed on by human contact – including viruses such as pneumonia and the common cold

Out and about…

  • ATM keypads can lead to cross infection since MRSA, food poisoning bacteria staph aureus and even traces of faeces have been found on them
  • Supermarket trolley handles are touched by thousands of people each day, yet they're rarely sanitised. The most common germs found on the handles are saliva and faecal matter
  • Swabs taken from tube and bus seats in London found that they contained on average three million bacteria of up to 70 different types, including tuberculosis

Fewer than half (46 per cent) scrub their hands clean before dinner and only a quarter do so after playing in the park with their kids. More than four in 10 blokes don't even clean their mitts after car maintenance or DIY. 

The research found over half (51 per cent) have avoided shaking hands with someone because of their dirty hands. And the same number have knowingly greeted someone when their own hands aren't 100 per cent clean.

A disturbing three in 10 blokes admit they NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet, claiming they don't touch anything dirty.

And over a quarter don't bother washing their hands in public places because of the germs around them.

A quarter of Brits don't even wash their hands after using the toilet at home, and one in five have the mentality if their hands don't look dirty, then they're probably not.

Professor Lindsey Davies, National Director of Pandemic Flu Preparedness at the Department of Health said:

"Helping to stop the spread of flu is easy - covering your nose and mouth with tissues when you cough and sneeze, throwing the tissue away and cleaning your hands really helps prevent the virus spreading. The message is simple - CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT."

National Hand Hygiene Awareness Week runs from Monday 26th October to 1st November 2009 and aims to educate people of the importance of cleaning their hands to prevent against germs and viruses this winter. 

Visit www.handhygieneawarenessweek.co.uk* where you can:

  • find out how and when is the best way to clean your hands
  • get practical tips and advice from Dr Hilary Jones on staying germ free this winter
  • find more information about Hand Hygiene Awareness week
  • be in with a chance to win a years supply of Wet Ones hand wipes

Notes to Editors:


1.Bristol38hrs, 24mins
2.Edinburgh37hrs, 12mins
3.Norwich33hrs, 36mins
4.Wolverhampton33hrs. 6mins
5.Belfast32hrs, 36mins
6.Leeds32hrs, 24mins
7.London30hrs, 40mins
8.Newcastle30hrs, 12mins
9.Cambridge29hrs, 48mins
10.Liverpool29hrs, 18mins

1.York19hrs, 24mins
2.Aberdeen20hrs, 12mins
3.Coventry22hrs, 18mins
5.Leicester23hrs, 18mins
6.Cardiff23hrs, 48mins
7.Manchester24hrs, 12mins
8.Birmingham24hrs, 3mins
9.Portsmouth26hrs, 36mins
10.Brighton26hrs, 54mins
  • Survey of 4,000 16-65 year olds carried out by onepoll.com

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