SJU Professor Provides Microbiological Context for Common — or Not-So-Common — Bathroom Habit

McCann on handwashing
Image via Saint Joseph's University.
SJU Professor Michael McCann (r), using cabbage as an object lesson.

A national handwashing report from a Wisconsin washroom supply company was vetted by the chair of the biology department at Saint Joseph’s University, Wynnewood. Yahoo Finance carried the data analysis.

The 2023 survey from Bradley Corp. queried more than 1,000 American adults — 45 percent men, 55 percent women — about hand cleanliness habits.

Most results are comforting: 93 percent of adults believe that routinely lathering up is an essential component of good health.

In U.S. bathrooms across, however, data show a range of diligence:

  • 51 percent engage in the full soap-lather-scrub-rinse-dry regimen
  • Some forego paper towels and:
    • Dry hands on clothing (20 percent)
    • Shake fingers vigorously (17 percent)
  • 14 percent rinse only, foregoing soap and drying
  • 3 percent skip the process entirely

It’s that latter data slice that concerns medical microbiologist Michael P. McCann, professor and chair of biology, Saint Joseph’s University.

“Handwashing, using soap and warm water, is an easy and effective way to reduce the spread of disease-causing organisms,” he said. “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.”

More on national handwashing trends is at Yahoo Finance.


Curious what would happen if handwashing ceased altogether? It’s not pretty.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.