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The Big Hygiene Reset: New research reveals almost 1 in 2 people would leave a public venue if it did not appear to have good hygiene measures in place

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SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 8 October 2021 – Rentokil Initial has released a new global hygiene report, The Global Hygiene Reset, examining the pandemic’s influence on people’s attitudes, behaviours and expectations about hygiene. The world’s leading pest control and hygiene services provider surveyed 20,000 people across 20 countries in EMEA, APAC and AMER to build a global perspective.


Key findings

  • 70% of people surveyed have higher hygiene expectations of themselves because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 74% said that they are now more concerned that other people’s poor hand hygiene could put their health at risk than before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 74% responded that they are now more aware of germ hotspots than before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 71% agree that they are now more fearful of the spread of germs via the surfaces they touch than before the pandemic 
  • 71% of respondents are concerned about whether a venue has adequate measures in place to stop the spread of germs

The Global Hygiene Reset report provides unique insights into how individuals have adapted their hygiene behaviours because of the COVID-19 pandemic and sheds light on the multiple ways the benchmark for “good hygiene” has shifted as a response. A renowned psychologist, bestselling author and broadcaster, provides expert analysis in the report.


Over the past 18 months, public health advice has emphasised the importance of better hygiene practices involving hand, surface and air hygiene. This has led to a greater awareness of hygiene, how easily pathogens spread and the clear hygiene practices needed to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other common viruses, such as influenza and norovirus.

  • 72% of people surveyed are now more concerned about the spread of germs via the air they breathe indoors in a public venue than before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 74% of respondents say they would now like reassurance that the surfaces they are touching in a public venue are disinfected regularly

The survey reveals a new benchmark in hygiene expectations and that many of the practices adopted by people to keep themselves and others safe have become second nature and are likely to remain.


The global pattern shows that people wash their hands more now (66%) to protect themselves from common viruses than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic and that they’re likely to do this more in future (66%). This increased expectation of good hygiene practices will continue to impact the way we live our lives and the way we work.


Businesses that embrace this shift in the fundamental mindset and implement integrated hygiene strategies – not only for hand hygiene but for surfaces and clean air as well – will be better placed to protect the health and safety of staff and customers, keeping them reassured and giving them the confidence to return to their premises.


Amanda Jackson, Global Head of Category, Hygiene & Wellbeing from Rentokil Initial commented on this paradigm shift in expectations.  “Regardless of where we live and work, the implications of the increased awareness of and appreciation for hygiene will have a ripple effect on our society for the coming decades.  From avoiding frequently touched surfaces to concerns about poor indoor air quality, the research shows that people feel hygiene must be at the forefront of decisions made by organisations and businesses across the globe. Good hygiene practices will continue to be essential to living a more comfortable, productive and healthier life. Results from our survey show that 71% of people are concerned about whether a venue has adequate measures in place to stop the spread of germs. An integrated approach to hygiene can help put their minds at rest and keep them safe.”


About Initial

We’re the world’s leading hygiene company and part of Rentokil Initial, the experts in protecting people and enhancing lives. We operate in over 60 countries across the world and have over 100 years of hygiene experience, the widest range of solutions and the highest levels of service in the industry. Our teams of microbiologists, product developers and service professionals and our award-winning innovations set us apart from competitors. We help customers around the world manage hygiene risks and create safer business environments to protect their staff, customers and brand reputations.


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