NEW STUDY: paper hand towels are still the most preferred way of drying hands in public washrooms

Katrin, expert brand in public washroom hygiene, has been conducting washroom studies by independent research companies for several years to have the latest view of consumer behavior in public washrooms. The latest study was conducted by Kantar in January 2021, across seven European countries. The aim of the study was to understand the developments and changes in the behavior when visiting public washrooms over the last 12 months, and especially looking at the changes in habits since the last study, which was conducted in the pre-pandemic period. 
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“One of the key findings is that personal safety is more important than ever and 68% of the respondents of the study have fears of picking up an infection in a public toilet. In all countries, “ daily users” of public washrooms declined from 31% in the earlier study to 19% during the pandemic period. So safe use of public toilets must be underpinned with safe hygiene solutions for dispensing soap, tissue paper and sanitizers,” says Toni Rikkonen, Brand Director, Katrin.

According to the study 96% of people who visit public washrooms wash their hands either always or almost always. This means that 4% of people are still not washing their hands after visiting public washrooms, so there is still room for improvement in hygiene practices. Paper is the most preferred way of drying hands and has been ever since the first washroom studies were  conducted in the early 2000s. In the latest study the preference of paper has increased from 59% up to 61 %. Air dryers are preferred by 29% of people and textile towels by 10 %. 55% of the respondents in the study said that they see air dryers as unhygienic.

Disinfectant has clearly taken a strong step forward in people’s hand hygiene practices and the use of hand disinfectant has increased remarkably during the year - 64 % of respondents said they used hand disinfectants as one method to clean hands.

When asking how respondents behave outside of home to protect themselves from contracting an infectious disease, 71% keep a social distance, 71% avoid crowds and 70% wash their hands frequently. 69% of the respondents stated to use masks when outside home.

71% of respondents also believe that pandemic will change hand hygiene behavior permanently.

This is our thinking as well and paper hand towels are still the most preferred way of drying hands in public washrooms. This is quite natural due to papers being a very hygienic means of drying hands – removing bacteria from wet hands and not spreading it further when the paper is hygienically disposed of after use. Our Katrin solutions support the best cleanliness and hygiene standards and are sustainably made across the whole value chain. In addition, easy access and well-functioning hygiene solutions are highly appreciated and are key for safe and effective use of public toilets,” concludes Rikkonen.

The study was conducted in Europe, Poland, Germany, UK, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and covered 3,501 participants, with representatives from all age groups (18 upwards). The above-mentioned results refer to European averages.

Source: Kantar/Metsä Tissue Washroom study 2021

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For further information, please contact:
Toni Rikkonen, Brand Director, Katrin, tel. +358 50 526 9226
Denise Nee, Marketing manager, The UK, tel. 
+ 44 7950 336 459, denise.nee[at]
Joanna Linnermo-Kumpuoja, Communications Manager, tel. +358 4 555 5868 or joanna.linnermo-kumpuoja[at]


Metsä Tissue

Metsä Tissue creates a cleaner every day. We are one of the leading tissue paper suppliers in Europe to households and professionals and one of the leading greaseproof paper suppliers globally. 

Our brands are Lambi, Serla, Mola, Tento, Katrin and SAGA. With production units in five countries, we employ around 2,500 people. In 2020, our sales totalled EUR 1 billion. Metsä Tissue is part of Metsä Group, a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy. 
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