The fifth annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corp., a manufacturer of commercial hand washing products,
found 70 percent admit they skipped using soap after using a public restroom and only rinsed their hands -- up from 54 percent who said they just rinsed with water two years ago.
But after seeing someone else skip hand washing in a pubic restroom, survey respondents said they avoided contact with anything the non-washer touched, washed their own hands more thoroughly and in general they avoided the person.
More said they've seen someone else leave a public restroom without washing their hands at all. This year, 81 percent witnessed a non-washing event compared with 74 percent last year, the survey said.
"Good 'hand hygiene' is one of the most important, and easiest, things we can do to reduce our own risk of getting sick and of spreading germs to others," Michael McCann, a professor of biology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, said in a statement.
"Thorough hand washing, using soap and warm water for a good 20 seconds, is highly effective in removing bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing micro-organisms from the surface of our skin."
Men were almost 2 1/2 times more likely than women to say they didn't wash up because they didn't feel the need, the survey said.