Businesses that fail to keep their restrooms clean and maintained are unwittingly flushing away customers’ repeat business and sales. According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey™ from Bradley Corp., almost 60 percent of Americans make it a point to stop at a business and will spend more money at the establishment if they know it has clean and maintained restrooms.
In fact, those age 25–44 are even more likely to shell out more cash based on the condition of a business’ restroom.
Conversely, there are negative business repercussions for experiencing a restroom in poor condition. More than half of Americans say an unclean or unpleasant public bathroom shows poor management and causes them to lower their opinion of the overall establishment. The 55+ age group is especially turned off by unkempt restrooms, with more than 60 percent reporting a damaged impression of the overall business.
Almost 20 percent say a sloppy restroom actually makes them less likely to clean up after themselves.
The Business Fallout of Unpleasant Restrooms
Perhaps most damaging for customer-facing businesses is that 52 percent say a bad restroom experience causes them to vow not to return in the future or think twice about doing so. Another 32 percent will either tell a friend or post a comment on social media about the negative encounter.
While there are a variety of restroom maintenance issues that may tarnish customers’ restroom experiences, the most common ones include clogged or unflushed toilets; an overall appearance that is old, dirty, or unkempt; unpleasant smells; and empty or jammed dispensers for soap, toilet paper, and hand towels.
“Restroom maintenance may seem like a business no brainer but limited budgets and facility staffing issues mean that companies are doing more with less staff and resources,” says Jon Dommisse, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Bradley Corp. “Nevertheless, customers place a high value on clean restrooms—and reward businesses that offer them. It’s incumbent upon facility managers to prioritize regular restroom cleaning and make sure that everything is in good working order.”
Understanding the Aversion to Touching Restroom Surfaces
“In 2023, Americans continue to be in an elevated state of germ consciousness and don’t like touching things in shared public restroom spaces,” adds Dommisse. “As a result, people use all sorts of techniques to avoid coming into contact with surfaces.”
62 percent use a paper towel to avoid touching toilet flushers and faucet and door handles. 43 percent operate the flusher with their foot. 31 percent hover over the toilet seat, and 27 percent open and close doors with their behind to eliminate contact. Women are considerably more likely than men to use these evasive actions.
With so many people deliberately avoiding contact with restroom surfaces, it’s not surprising that 82 percent believe it is important to have touchless fixtures in a public restroom. Another 60 percent are more likely to return to a business that offers touch-free technology like faucets, flushers, soap, and towel dispensers in its restrooms.
“When asked what restroom improvements they’d like to see, cleanliness topped the list,” Dommisse said. “After that, Americans want touchless fixtures and better stocking of supplies, such as toilet paper, soap, and paper towels.”
The annual Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corp. queried 1,025 American adults from January 4–10, 2023, about their handwashing habits, concerns about the coronavirus and flu and their use of public restrooms. Participants were from around the country and were fairly evenly split between men (45 percent) and women (55 percent).
For more information, visit bradleycorp.com/handwashing.
Source: Bradley Corp.