Increasing hand washing compliance with a simple visual cue

Academic Article


  • We tested the efficacy of a simple, visual cue to increase hand washing with soap and water. Automated towel dispensers in 8 public bathrooms were set to present a towel either with or without activation by users. We set the 2 modes to operate alternately for 10 weeks. Wireless sensors were used to record entry into bathrooms. Towel and soap consumption rates were checked weekly. There were 97 351 hand-washing opportunities across all restrooms. Towel use was 22.6% higher (P = .05) and soap use was 13.3% higher (P = .003) when the dispenser presented the towel without user activation than when activation was required. Results showed that a visual cue can increase hand-washing compliance in public facilities.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ford EW; Boyer BT; Menachemi N; Huerta TR
  • Start Page

  • 1851
  • End Page

  • 1856
  • Volume

  • 104
  • Issue

  • 10