Over two thirds of Irish adults do not wash their hands for long enough to kill the germs that cause infections, a new report has claimed.
A national survey ahead of Global Handwashing Day tomorrow also revealed that women wash their hands more frequently than men.
It found that women more likely than men to wash their hands seven or more times per day (73%) compared to 51% for men.
Some 63% of women believed that washing your hands is extremely important, compared to just 47% of men.
According to the World Health Organisation, washing your hands properly should take as long as singing 'Happy Birthday' twice.
Over half of the respondents (56%) said they did not wash their hands after blowing their nose (56%), sneezing (61%) or coughing (65%), while 4% admitted to not washing their hands after using the toilet.
Almost one-in-five admitted not washing their hands before handling food.
Bon Secours Health System spokesperson Helene McDermott, Consultant Microbiologist at Bon Secours Dublin, stated: Global Handwashing Day does great work every year, teaching children worldwide about effective hand washing.
"This survey reminds us that it’s not just children that can benefit, with 67% of people not taking the time required to clean their hands properly.
"Washing your hands with soap is still the most effective way to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent health care-associated infections."
The research was carried out by Empathy Research from September 5-26 among 962 participants and is nationally representative of 18+ year olds living in the Republic of Ireland.
It was quota controlled by age, gender and region.