Survey Finds 75% Of Parents Don’t Believe Their Kids Are Actually Washing Their Hands

Mom gut is *usually* right.

A boy washing his hands in the kitchen; According to new data, only 25% of parents actually believe ...
Catherine Delahaye/DigitalVision/Getty Images

There is no question that — especially in today’s world — handwashing is one of the most important preventative measures one can take to help maintain a healthy body and home. In fact, 93% of adults believe that it’s an essential life practice.

However, a new study revealed that while the overwhelming majority of adults think handwashing is a necessity, kids most likely don’t share that same sentiment.

The annual Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corp. surveyed 1,025 American adults — 45% of which were men, 55% women — about their handwashing habits, including concerns about the coronavirus, flu and their use of public restrooms.

The big finding for the parenting set? According to the survey, only 25% of parents actually believe their children always wash their hands when they tell them to do so.

Why are parents so skeptical of their kids handwashing habits? The study reports that 60% of parents surveyed admitted to lying about washing their hands to their own parents when they were young, so they assume the same goes for their kids.

Instead of just using some soap and warm water, they would pretend to wash their hands and just run the water when their parents instructed them to wash their hands.

Unsurprisingly, dads were a bit more trusting of their kids when it comes to handwashing follow-through, with 60% reporting that they believe their kids wash their hands at least a 75% of the time.

Only 51% of mothers could say the same.

With every virus known to man flying around this world like wildfire, handwashing is truly the bare minimum for how people can help prevent themselves from getting ill.

“Handwashing, using soap and warm water, is an easy and effective way to reduce the spread of disease-causing organisms,” says medical microbiologist Michael P. McCann, Ph.D., professor and chair of biology, Saint Joseph's University, in the release.

“Given the ease with which some of these organisms can be spread on solid surfaces, in food, and by other means, handwashing is something that everyone should do after activities like using the restroom," McCann adds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.

So, what are parents doing to help their kids keep those hands clean? Encouragement and modeling.

57% of adults ask their children to wash their hands while 35% of parents will buy fun soaps to make the process more interesting for kids. A little over 30% of parents try to incorporate handwashing into their kids' routines at certain times of the day so it’s to be expected and less of a battle, while 19% turn it into a contest or game.

“Establishing the habit of handwashing from early on is a smart move by parents,” says Jon Dommisse, vice president of marketing and corporate communication for Bradley Corp.

“It's a scientific fact that the act of washing your hands with soap and water removes germs and keeps children and families healthier. I'd say it probably keeps them happier too since they're not constantly dealing with sickness.”