Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Infect Control. 2003 Apr;31(2):67-71.

Handwashing among female college students.

Author information

McDaniel College, Westminster, Maryland 21157, USA.


Handwashing has been recognized as a critical factor in infection control policies. Whereas handwashing compliance among health care workers and school-aged students has been previously documented, practices among college students remain relatively unknown. The objective of this study was to determine handwashing compliance of female college students after using the bathroom. A researcher situated in a toilet stall unobtrusively observed handwashing compliance among 100 female students. Most students (63%) washed their hands, 38% used soap, 32% washed with soap for 5 or more seconds, but only 2% washed their hands with soap for 10 or more seconds. Fewer students left without handwashing when someone else was present in the sink area (9%) than when they were alone (45%) (P =.002). Substantial bacterial colony counts were found on a female bathroom sink faucet and toilet seat confirming the need for programs to increase handwashing compliance. Potential strategies to optimize infection control include harnessing the influence of peer pressure on handwashing and the installation of motion-activated faucets, disposable seat covers, and exit doors that can be pushed open. These results should be confirmed in a larger study that includes both male and female college students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center