Support our Nation today - please donate here

Men in Wales less likely than women to wash their hands – new survey

28 Nov 2023 3 minute read
The survey was carried out by Public Health Wales.

A new survey has found that men in Wales are less likely than women to think handwashing after using the toilet is necessary.

Public Health Wales carried out the survey which found that 1 in 5 men in Wales admitted they don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet.

Men were also more likely than women to report washing their hands for less than 20 seconds.

In the representative survey of over a thousand adults in Wales there was particularly low awareness of the importance of hand washing after coming back from a public place, with only 41% of men and 50% of women agreeing that it was necessary.


The YouGov survey commissioned by Public Health Wales also found people had a lack of awareness about the importance of hand washing after meeting people outside their household, with only 38% of men and 43 per cent of women thinking it was necessary.

Only around a half of Welsh adults said they always or often wash their hands after sneezing or blowing their nose.

Public health experts are highlighting the importance of hand hygiene to stay well this winter.

Good hand washing is one of the most effective actions people can all take to reduce the spread of infections, like flu, norovirus and Covid-19.

A typical person’s hands contain millions of microbes, most are harmless but some may be infection-causing bacteria.


To reduce the risk of spreading germs, it’s recommended to wash hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water at key times of the day, including before eating, after using the toilet, after blowing your nose, after travelling on public transport and when arriving home after being in a public place.

If handwashing facilities are unavailable, an alcohol based hand gel can also be effective against viruses  – although it does not work for noroviruses.

Other measures to protect against the spread of infection this winter are to stay at home if you are unwell and ensure you and your family are up to date with their winter vaccinations.

Dr. Giri Shankar, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales said, “It’s important to continue the good hygiene practices that we learnt during the Covid pandemic.

“No-one likes to be ill, especially during the festive season. Taking a few simple steps to protect yourself and your loved ones against infection can really make all the difference and increase your chances of staying well this winter.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 months ago

A mask is more effective than washing hands with C19 (airborne) and others (correct community testing as well but there we are).
But seen the state of many facilities? Some places at the towels I would not touch with a bargepole and the sinks and taps absolutely rank.

Best to also carry had sanitiser now, wipes or gel.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Is this news a surprise to anybody at all?

7 months ago

I didn’t need a survey from Public Health Wales to tell me that people’s hygiene in public toilets is utterly minging. Even if you wash your own hands properly (assuming the facilities are even working properly), hardly anyone else does and you have to grab the same door handles that someone else’s urine or faeces contaminated hands have grabbed.

People are, frankly, disgusting.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago
Reply to  blc

Oh I agree. I think most people are hygienic (mainly but not exclusivley women), but enough really aren’t (mostly men). Even though, when opening the loo doors, I use the little finger of my non-writing hand, right at the very top of the door handle by the bend. I figure fewer people touch it there. Then use a wet wipe or hand sanitizer ASAP afterwards

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
7 months ago

How much did it cost to reach this conclusion?

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.