Do You Sing Happy Birthday When You Wash Your Hands?

Sep 3, 2012, 11:43 AM

A sink in a hospital room.

A Labor Day survey of about 1,000 adults by the Bradley Corporation, which makes washroom fixtures, found that 66 percent said their office restroom is in excellent or very good condition. However, about a third say are unhappy with aspects of the company facilities including:

  • Clogged toilets
  • Bad smells
  • Empty or jammed paper towel dispensers

And those surveyed noticed something else. Only about ten percent say they frequently see people leave the restroom without washing their hands. A recent national survey found that 30 percent of Americans frequently see people who skip hand washing in a public restroom. And the survey responders say they estimate most people only wash for 5 to 15 seconds even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing for at least  20 seconds and sing ”Happy Birthday” twice to allow enough time to remove and rinse away germs.

>>Recommended Listening: The CDC has updated lyrics for the "Happy Birthday" song to sing when you wash your hands.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.