Most Britons fail to clean their toilets as often as they should (78% or 29.4 million) and a shocking 2.4 million people (6%) only bother to wipe round the bowl when it is visibly dirty, finds a new survey of the nationís toilet habits on World Toilet Day
Commissioned by charity partnership Toilet Twinning - which twins British loos with latrines in Burundi - the toilet habits survey finds that only one in five people (22%) meet the recommended advice to clean their loo daily.
“In the average household of two adults, two children, with one bathroom, the toilet should be cleaned once per day,” says Kim Woodburn, presenter of Channel 4’s How Clean Is Your House? “It takes two minutes. Little and often will keep it spotless and there will be no build up of odours or bacteria."
Scottish toilets top the table of toilet cleanliness (27% cleaning daily) while London’s loos fare the worst (19% cleaning daily). The Welsh seem the least worried about hygiene as one in 10 (11%) clean their loo just once a month.
The smallest room in the house is a hive of activity as, in addition to the obvious, people tend to do three different activities whilst on the loo. Yet when it comes to doing their business, Scots prefer to get in and get out, while Londoners are the most likely to look for a distraction.
Technology is creeping into the toilet, as a quarter of us (8.9 million) take our phones in with us – to chat, text, email or update Facebook and Twitter. People in England are twice as likely as the Scots or Welsh to update their Facebook status or to post a toilet tweet.
Toilet going is seemingly a social experience, as 5.5 million people (14%) confess to chatting on the loo. Women are more likely to chat in person, while men tend to chat on the phone.
It seems we’re partial to toilet playtime too, as one in ten (3.6 million) reach for a personal games console, crossword or Sudoku.
Reading is the nation’s top toilet habit – with 12 million people (32%) reaching for a newspaper, book or magazine, with Londoners being the most avid readers (39%). But some people confess to less sanitary toilet habits, such as the 1.7 million who smoke on the loo (4%).
Toilet Twinning’s survey was commissioned with a serious message in mind. While Britons’ toilets aren’t as clean as they should be, one in three people worldwide lack a clean and safe toilet to use at all.
Cherie McClintock, of Toilet Twinning says: ”Imagine if you can’t go to the loo safely, and how that would affect your health. Poor sanitation is one of the world’s biggest killers: it hits women, children, old and sick people hardest. Every minute, three children under the age of five die because of poor sanitation or dirty water.”
Toilet Twinning is a unique way of supporting people for whom good, clean, safe sanitation is a luxury - not a given. For £60 people can twin a toilet at home, work or school with a latrine in Burundi, the exact location of which can be pinpointed using Google maps.
Since Toilet Twinning’s launch in 2008, more than 1,500 latrines have been built in Burundi – providing safe loos for at least 9,000 people.
Notes to the editors
Kim Woodburn is not available for interview.
- This research was carried out by TNS Omnibus between12-18 October 2010 using an online survey. 2080 people between 16 and 64 years of age were interviewed from a sample representation of the British population. The sample has been weighted to represent the adult population of Great Britain aged 16-64 years - 37.65 million people.
- Toilet Twinning is a partnership between development charities Tearfund and Cord to improve access to decent sanitation, clean water and prevent the spread of disease in some of the world’s poorest communities.
- To twin a toilet visit www.toilettwinning.org
For interviews or more information please contact:
Sarah Greenwood or Abby King on 020 8943 7936 or 07590 775846