Survey: Americans will spend more at businesses with clean bathrooms
55% unlikely to return after bad restroom experience

Freeman Staff

March 22, 2019

While using a bathroom, about half of adults check their appearance and 40 percent blow their noses or cough. The survey also found that 27 percent of people use the restroom as a respite or a getaway and 25 percent use their cellphone in the restrooms.
Submitted photo

MENOMONEE FALLS — Nothing is more of a shopping or eating turnoff than a dirty bathroom. In fact, 52 percent of people who responded to a survey conducted by Menomonee Falls-based Bradley Corp. said they’d likely spend more money at a business with a well-maintained bathroom.

The 10th Annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey showed that 7 percent more people than last year’s survey said they’d “definitely” or “probably” would spend more money at a business with a clean bathroom.

The survey also found that 64 percent of consumers make a conscious decision to choose a business based on the fact that it has cleaner, well-maintained restrooms. Women are even more likely to be drawn to pleasing restrooms compared to men (67 percent vs. 61 percent).

Also, one-third of Americans say they would pay to use a restroom if they were assured it would be clean and well stocked.



“Consistently, over the 10 years of our survey, a large majority of Americans say they expect a high quality business to have a high quality restroom,” said Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “So, when a customer encounters a messy restroom, their perception of that business and its products and services are tarnished. Even worse, 55 percent are unlikely to return to a business after a bad restroom experience, which can have a devastating effect on sales.

“On the flip side, well-maintained restrooms attract customers who reward those businesses with increased spending. It simply makes good business sense to keep restrooms clean and modern-looking so customers come back.”

About 60 percent of Americans use a public restroom one to five times per week, the survey found, and an additional 21 percent use public restrooms six or more times per week.

“In all, 80 percent of people regularly use public restrooms. As odd as it may sound, for many of us, public restrooms are an important part of our everyday lives,” Dommisse said.

While using a bathroom, about half of adults check their appearance and 40 percent blow their nose or cough. The survey also found that 27 percent of people use the restroom as a respite or a getaway and 25 percent use their cellphone in the restrooms.



However, Americans also have a high level of frustration with public bathrooms. Top aggravations include toilets that are clogged or not flushed (85 percent), empty or jammed toilet paper dispensers (83 percent), and partition doors that don’t latch (78 percent). In all, nearly 70 percent of Americans reported having an unpleasant restroom experience.

“Based on these pain points, it makes sense that Americans’ top requests for improvements are keeping restrooms cleaner and better stocked,” Dommisse said. “The state of a restroom can have a measurable effect on the health of a business. Our aim for this research over the past 10 years has been to understand hand washing habits and help businesses improve their restrooms and attract repeat customers.”

The 10th Annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey by Bradley Corp. queried 1,264 American adults online Jan. 3-9 about their hand washing habits in public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds and the flu. Participants were from around the country, were 18 years and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (49 and 51 percent).