American Standard Study Reveals What Americans Love and Hate About Their Bathrooms

PISCATAWAY, N.J., March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- So whose bathroom would you most like to use? Bill Gates', Martha Stewart's or Oprah Winfrey's?

Or, who do you think hogs the bathroom more ... men or women?

The answers to these and many other questions that Americans commonly ask each other in America's coffee shops, workplaces and hair salons were recently revealed in the 1999 Bathroom Habits Survey, a national poll conducted on behalf of American Standard (NYSE: ASD - news), the company whose bathroom fixtures have been a household name for more than a century.

According to Jeannette Long, American Standard team leader of marketing, American Standard undertook the study to better understand how Americans use their bathrooms on a day-to-day basis. The study, conducted in February 1999, surveyed more than 800 U.S. residents about their home bathroom habits, likes and dislikes, and what they fantasize about in a luxury dream bathroom.

``Americans have a unique relationship with their bathroom,'' says Long. ``With today's highly stressful lifestyles, the bathroom has truly become a sanctuary; a place people can unwind and refresh themselves. At the same time, it's essential for families to peacefully co-exist in the bathroom as they prepare for a busy day ahead. People get really frustrated with another person who takes too long, leaves the toilet unflushed or leaves gobs of toothpaste in the sink.

``At American Standard, bathrooms have been our business for more than 140 years,'' Long added. ``It's our job to understand how today's Americans really feel about their bathrooms. Their feedback will help us develop bathroom products to meet their needs and their dreams.''

For example, when it comes to that very question ``what luxuries do Americans long for in their dream bathrooms?'' American Standard learned that Americans named the whirlpool as the single most important bathroom fixture in a dream bathroom. Other features leading the must-haves list include: a new shower system and/or new shower faucets; a shower with multiple showerheads; a stylish bathroom vanity; and a longer/larger bathtub.

``The insight this survey provides is invaluable, not only for American Standard, but for builders, designers, plumbers and even consumers,'' say Long. ``The bathroom can be at times a taboo topic. This survey helps shed a little light on how Americans really feel about one of the most important rooms in their homes.''

Bathroom Time

According to the study, when the weekend comes, Americans hit the bathrooms. Americans said Saturday is the day they spend the most time in the bathroom, followed by Sunday. As for the weekdays, Americans spend the most time in the bathroom on Monday than any other day. Americans spend the least amount of time in the bathroom on Thursday.

Americans spend an average of 35 minutes in the bathroom each day. Comparatively men and women occupy the bathroom about the same about of time. However, when American Standard looked at this question by age groups, it found that more than 27 percent of Americans, ages 18-24, spend 60 or more minutes in the bathroom each day.

So how do Americans spend time in their bathrooms? Here are some real juicy tidbits:

The favorite bathroom activity among Americans is taking a hot bath, followed by dressing in the bathroom and applying make-up. Interestingly, 42 percent of Americans read a newspaper, book or catalog; 22 percent have a conversation with another person and 10.5 percent watch TV or listen to music in the bathroom. Corresponding with the rise in cordless phones, 16 percent of Americans have telephone conversations in the bathroom, and pet owners take note: 12 percent of Americans wash their dog or cat in the bathroom.

As for singing in the shower, only 17 percent of Americans admit to singing in the shower. Of those who do, Baby Boomers, ages 35-44, tend to sing in the shower more than any other age group.

Bathroom Habits

The American Standard survey reveals some other interesting news about Americans' bathroom habits.

For example, the majority of Americans, 82 percent, said they always wash their hands after using the bathroom. The survey revealed that 97 percent of Americans, age 65 years and older, always wash their hands after using the bathroom compared to only 45 percent of Gen Xers, ages 18-24, who said they always wash their hands. More than 87 percent of women, compared to 77 percent of men, always wash their hands.

After a long, hard day, 53 percent of Americans prefer a nice hot shower to a bath. In fact, 57 percent of Americans say they take a shower everyday, and 6.6 percent said they take a shower more than once a day. Six percent of Americans say they never take a shower. When Americans do jump into the shower, more than 60 percent take five to ten minutes and 35 percent said they complete their shower in 11-20 minutes. Shower time is comparatively about the same for men and women. Oddly, four percent of Americans shower with the lights off when they take a shower to start their days.

When Americans have plenty of time to truly relax, they would prefer a hot soaking bath to a shower. Even then, they're not in the tub for very long -- 50 percent of Americans who take baths limit their tub time to between 11-20 minutes.

Pet Peeves and Bathroom Hogs

When it comes to their bathrooms, Americans are very opinionated. When asked, ``What's the number one pet peeve that you have with your bathroom?'' Americans resoundingly said cleaning it. As one might expect, 38 percent of American women said cleaning the bathroom is their number one pet peeve compared to 29 percent of men. Other top five bathroom pet peeves include: the small size of one's bathroom; another person leaving an unflushed toilet; bathroom fixtures (toilets, faucets, showers, etc.) that don't work properly; and toothpaste gunk in the sink.

And what about sharing your bathroom with another person? The number one pet peeve of Americans who have a bathroom partner is that the other person never cleans it. This answer was especially strong among women -- nearly half (47 percent) said their partner never cleans the bathroom. Men weren't as concerned as women on this question, as some might expect. Only 27 percent said they have a problem with their partner or mate not cleaning the bathroom. On the other hand, the number one pet peeve among men was their spouse, partner or roommate taking too much time in the bathroom.

Other major pet peeves of sharing a bathroom with another person include: doesn't change the toilet paper (18 percent), smells up the bathroom (12 percent), and takes too long showers (6.5 percent).

Men and women responded almost equally to the question about ``who hogs the bathroom more ... men or women?'' The answer: women.

Celebrity Bathrooms

So, if you had the opportunity to sneak a peek through the cabinets or flush the toilet in the bathroom of a celebrity, who would you choose? And let's say some of the celebrities that would top just about anybody's list might include women such as Julia Child, Meg Ryan, Martha Stewart, Calista Flockhart, Cindy Crawford, Rosie O'Donnell, Julia Roberts, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric or Oprah Winfrey, or men such as Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, George Clooney, Matt Lauer, Michael Jordan, Mark McGwire, Homer Simpson or Austin Powers.

According to American Standard's 1999 Bathroom Habits Survey, Americans selected Martha Stewart as the celebrity whose bathroom they would most like to use. Runners up included Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates. Martha and Oprah were the number one and two choices among women, and American men, possibly in search of a hot stock tip or a new software feature, selected Bill Gates over supermodel Cindy Crawford, who was their next choice. Martha Stewart scored well among people of all age brackets, but interestingly, she scored best among America's Gen Xers.

But, let's say you have the opportunity to entertain this same group of celebrities at your very own home. American Standard asked, ``Which celebrity would you not want to use your personal bathroom?'' For whatever reason, maybe because they're fearful he may break something or leave their bathroom a bit untidy, Americans voted against cartoon character Homer Simpson, followed by, you guessed it, Martha Stewart. Maybe we live in fear that Martha Stewart won't think our bathrooms are decorated well enough.

Call 800-524-9797, ext. 199 or visit to locate the nearest American Standard dealer.

American Standard is the world's largest plumbing manufacturer, with 108 manufacturing locations in 35 countries employing approximately 51,000 people. U.S. Plumbing Products (USPP) is a division of American Standard Companies, Inc. Headquartered in Piscataway, N.J., USSP is a leader in the design, development and sales of chinaware, acrylic and enameled products, faucets and accessories.

Survey Note: The 1999 American Standard Bathroom Habits Survey was conducted by NFO Research, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. Eight hundred sixty U.S. residents, age 18 and older, were mailed a 20-question written survey in February 1999. Six hundred people responded to the survey by March 1, 1999. The percentage of women to men who responded to the survey was approximately 60 percent women, 40 percent men. The survey was mailed to a geographically and gender proportionate sample of the contiguous United States and has a margin of error of +/- four percent.

SOURCE: American Standard