Don't forget to wash up

Men, wash you hands! Your mothers would be ashamed.

When it comes to washing up after using the bathroom, men are slobs compared to women. Researchers (yes, there are people who research such things) found that one-third of men don't bother to wash after using the bathroom, compared with only 12 percent of women.

How was this research conducted? Simple, observers camped out in public restrooms and spied on people in four big cities: Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. In all, they recorded the hand-washing habits of more than 6,000 people.

Doctors say that frequent hand washing is the best way to avoid contracting colds and the flu or picking up germs lurking in food. The experts even advise carrying around cleansing gels or wipes in case soap and water are not handy.

But experts also advise that your technique is important. The casual splash of water followed by a wipe with a paper towel that often passes for hand washing doesn't do a lot of good. We need to use soap and scrub a little.

The other problem confronting those who use public restrooms is how to get out without touching anything. Once you have washed your hands thoroughly, you're still liable to pick up other people's germs from the water handles, the towel dispenser and the exit door.

You can use your elbows or wear rubber gloves. But you risk being mistaken for Howard Hughes, the reclusive billionaire and cleanliness freak.

Nonetheless, the advice still stands: Washing your hands may not kill all the germs but it sure can't hurt.

Men, make your mothers proud and wash up after using the bathroom.


Research shows that men are far less likely than women to wash after using the bathroom.