It’s perhaps not the most glamorous room in the house, but it’s one room that we all use several times a day. There are reams of statistics about how we use our bathrooms and how our bathroom habits compare to our international cousins, and they make for interesting reading – if only to reveal just how dirty we can be!
We’re Really Bad At Washing Our Hands
Most of us are aware that one of the best ways of stopping the spread of bugs and viruses is by washing our hands properly, but a study carried out by experts from hospitals and Universities in London found that 11% of Brits have as many germs from faecal matter on their hands as the average toilet bowl. A similar study done in public loos at a service station on the motorway showed only 32% of men and 64% of women washed their hands after using the toilet, although 99% said that they had when asked.
Experts think that because we live in a relatively clean society and we have eradicated diseases such as cholera which were associated with poor hygiene in the past, we have just forgotten how important it is to always wash our hands with hot water and soap.
We’re Cleaner than the French (But Dirtier than the Germans)
According to a survey published in the leading French daily newspaper Le Figaro, only 47% of French people take a shower or have a bath every day (it’s worth pointing out that this survey is from 1998, but a more recent survey suggests that not much has changed). This compares with 70% of Brits who wash daily, and 80% of Germans and Scandinavians. Le Figaro was quick to point out though that although the French are showering less frequently and buying a lot less soap than the Germans or British, they buy more deodorant and perfumes than any other European nation. French psychologists have said that this lack of showering is due to a difference in the French psychological make-up, and that they don’t see washing as a natural function like eating or sleeping.
Thankfully there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that there’s actually no need for us to have a daily shower. I covered this back in May and found out that we can actually do more damage than good by showering daily. Unfortunately despite writing this it hasn’t stopped me having a daily shower myself! It’s still a great way to wake yourself up in the morning.
The Average Shower is Getting Longer
Most of us take a shower in the morning because it’s quicker and more convenient than having a bath, and because we also think it saves water. A recent survey showed that the average time spent in the shower in the UK is 8 minutes, and modern powerful showers use just as much water as the average bath. An average 8 minute shower uses about 62 litres of water, but some of the most powerful showers can use as much as 136 litres. A bath, which uses 80 litres, is therefore sometimes the more environmentally friendly option. Unfortunately another recent survey has shown that the majority of people make having a shower their regular washing activity rather than having a bath.
In comparison the Aussies have managed to drastically reduce the average time spent in the shower in order to save water by giving away free timers to make sure people don’t lose track of the amount of time they are spending in the shower, with an aim of getting the average Australian shower to just 4 minutes.
Outside Loos still Exist
Having to troop outside into the garden in the middle of the night to use the toilet sounds like something from the Victorian times, but in 2010 there were still 40,000 homes in the UK with an outside loo. Many of these have an indoor bathroom or toilet as well, and with mortgage lenders refusing to lend money on properties which only have an outside toilet, this number is only going to decrease in the future. This is a huge change in the way we use our bathrooms; in the 1970s over 10% of properties had a toilet outside, but by 2011 this had fallen to less than 0.3%.
We’re Buying More Bath and Shower Products Than Ever
Gone are the days when your only option for getting yourself clean was either a bar of soap or a bottle of bubble bath. The shelves of any supermarket are groaning with shower gels, creams, bubble bath, bath salts, oils and all manner of types of soap, so it’s no surprise that the value of the shower and bath product market is over £500 million. The market is also growing at a time where we are cutting back on spending elsewhere, with manufacturers reporting growth of 2.5% every year.
Share this article on your site by copying the code below: