Hygiene and Cleanliness in the U.S.
Women more likely than men to be concerned about personal hygiene, especially as it relates to self-image
Washington, DC, September 4, 2018 - On a daily basis, most Americans may not put too much thought into their usual bathing and grooming routines. However, a new Ipsos poll seeks to answer the question, “Just how clean are we?” A vast majority of Americans (99%) report that they are clean, and 92% say maintaining good hygiene is a top priority. When asked how often someone negatively comments about their cleanliness, most respondents answer “never” (78%).
When it comes to hygiene habits, some gender disparities come to light. Not only are women (81%) more likely than men (72%) to describe themselves as very clean rather than just clean, they are also more likely to consider the tested hygiene habits very important. While the majority (98%) of men and women agree that washing their hands after using the toilet is important, women (91%) are more likely than men (84%) to say that this behavior is very important. Similarly, women are more likely to say that changing their undergarments every day (88% vs. 78% of men), changing their clothes every day (73% vs. 63%), and washing their hands after using public transportation (74% vs. 66%) are crucial behaviors. These gender differences are also apparent for habits like sanitizing mobile devices, living spaces, and work spaces – hygiene practices which roughly a third of men do not seem to find important (33%, 24%, and 27%, respectively). On the other hand, more than a third of both men and women (36%) do not find that bathing/taking a shower before going to bed is very important.
Women are also more likely to be concerned about hygiene as it relates to image and perception. Three out of five women (61%) “strongly agree” that personal hygiene is directly tied to their self-image, while only a half of men (50%) believe the same. Four out of five women (78%) also believe that personal hygiene can also impact their daily productivity, whereas fewer men (72%) agree. As such, a large majority of women (94%) seem to prioritize hygiene maintenance above all else, and only a third (32%) agree that personal hygiene comes second to school or work priorities.
The average American will shower 6.4 times per week, wash their hair 4.8 times per week, floss 4 times per week, brush their hair 1.8 times per day, and brush their teeth 1.9 times per a day. When asked which personal hygiene products are used daily, toilet paper (96%), toothpaste (95%), toothbrush (94%), deodorant (90%), and soap/body wash (85%) are the top choices. The least used products are shaving products (36%), hand sanitizer (35%), and nail clippers (18%). While the use of most products does not vary widely between women and men, a few products, including shampoo (49% of women vs. 68% of men), shaving products (26% vs. 47%), and nail clippers (16% vs. 21%), are found to be more commonly used by men.
About the Study
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted August 3-6, 2018. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5 percentage points).
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