Chicago Tops in Hand-Washing, Study Shows

By Ally Clark
|  Monday, Sep 13, 2010  |  Updated 4:45 PM CDT
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PHOTOS: The Mudqueens of Chicago

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Chicago ranks among the most clean cities when it comes to hand-washing after using the bathroom, a new study shows.

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Chicago ranks among the most clean cities when it comes to hand-washing after using the bathroom, a new study shows.

Researchers put spies in the public restrooms of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry and Shedd Aquarium recently and found that 93 percent of people who went into the bathroom washed up before they came out. 

The observers were instructed to groom themselves while observing and to rotate bathrooms every hour or so to avoid counting repeat users more than once.

Nationwide, hand-washing in public restrooms improved overall.  Researchers found 85 percent of public restroom users washing their hands, up from 77 percent in 2007. It's the best rate since these periodic surveys began in 1996.

One thing hasn't changed: Men are still dirtier. About 23 percent of men failed to wash versus 7 percent of women.

Other cities included in the research, which was conducted by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute, were Atlanta, New York City, and San Fransisco. 

New York's two train stations didn't fare very well, with about 80 percent of people washing their hands after answering nature's call. 

But men were at their worst at Atlanta's Turner Field.  Only 65 percent of men washed their hands after using the bathroom.  Still, that's better than the 57 percent at the venue three years ago.  Women at Turner Field were far cleaner:  98 percent of female Braves fans washed their hands.

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