What Makes a Restroom Dirty?

Aug. 12, 2013

Perceptions of cleanliness impact customer retention.

Dirty or sticky floors are the No. 1 turnoff for public restroom patrons, according to a survey of 3,130 adults by Harris Interactive.

A whopping 93% of respondents named grimy floors as a strong sign that a restroom is unclean, followed by unflushed toilets (90%), odors (89%), and overflowing trash cans (88%). Other top-ranked public restroom pet peeves include: 

Paper towels or toilet paper on the floor  80 %
Lack of toilet paper 67 %
Empty soap dispensers 55 %
Water around the sink area 42 %
Old or outdated soap dispensers 29 %

Broken doors or toilet seats, dim lighting, graffiti, dirty fixtures, soiled toilet seats, and water or urine on the floors also contributed to users perceiving a restroom as unclean, according to the survey.

Female respondents were more sensitive to restroom issues than men, with 96% of women surveyed citing dirty floors as a contributor to a dirty restroom, compared to 90% of male respondents. Older people were also more likely than younger respondents to indicate cleanliness issues. For example, 94% of adults aged 55 and older indicated that odor contributed to their perception of a dirty restroom, compared to 83% of adults aged 18-34.

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