Kicking up a stink: Bathroom etiquette down the drain

  • Over 800,000 Brits admit that arguments over the bathroom have contributed to the end of a friendship or relationship
  • Two million people confess to showering fewer than three times a week - with men being twice as likely as women to skip the shower
  • Whopper of a water bill: average Brit will spend eight months washing in their lifetime

New research1 from Direct Line Home Insurance has found that bathroom battles are wreaking havoc on relationships, with over 800,000 Brits admitting that they have contributed to a split or the end of a friendship. Of the 40 million2 Brits who live with other people, a third (33 per cent) admit to having had a disagreement over the bathroom with their cohabitees.

Of the 13 million adults who have had a disagreement over the use of a bathroom, the most common trigger was the state in which it was left after use (40 per cent), while leaving the toilet seat up (29 per cent) was the second biggest reason for arguments. Oddly, a lot more women (33 per cent) than men (24 per cent) admitted to having had a disagreement over the toilet seat, suggesting that some men are unaware of having had an argument. The third most common reason for disputes was someone spending excessively long in the bathroom, cited by 23 per cent of those who had been in a dispute.

It is perhaps unsurprising that so many arguments are caused by bathrooms given that more than 15 million people (30 per cent) share a bathroom with at least three other people. More than two million people (four per cent) say things are even more crowded, claiming to share a bathroom with five or more people.

The average Brit spends around two hours a week in the bathroom, amounting to over four days a year and over eight months across a lifetime3. This dramatically rises for the two and a half million Brits (five per cent) who claim to shower several times a day.  At the other end of the scale, two million Brits claim that their entire bathroom routine takes less than five minutes (including showering and brushing teeth).

Across the country, two million people admit to washing fewer than three times a week, less than half the national average of 6.4 times a week. There was also a clear gender divide in the country’s bathing habits, with men twice as likely as women to shower less often than the national average, making them sound like ‘rare rinsers’.

Brighton came out as Britain’s ‘cleanest city’, with three fifths (63 per cent) of those surveyed showering every day. Bristol, in contrast, came bottom with nine per cent of Bristolians washing fewer than three times a week.

Head of Home Insurance at Direct Line, Dan Simson, commented: “Shared bathrooms can quickly descend into chaos, with families feuding over the ‘best bathroom’, couples bickering about whose turn it is to clean the shower and flatmates clashing over who used the last of the shampoo. I remember the arguments I used to have at University, as my house mates picked apart each other’s bathroom habits to figure out exactly who was driving up the water bill.”

In some households, disputes over bathroom hogging are not the main bathroom related concern, with over 1.5 million Brits having suffered from a flooded home as a result of broken or faulty showers or other plumbing problems. Even worse, almost one million washers have had to accept the blame for flooding their neighbour’s home.

On average, nearly one in five Brits – just under ten million people – have been left for up to two days without access to a shower because of a faulty boiler or shower. A bathroom issue caused by a fault or over-use has led to over 1.8 million people (four per cent) having to call in an emergency plumber.

Simson continues: “It is important to remember that some bathroom battles might be unnecessary, particularly those that have arisen due to the stress of a faulty boiler or a flooded washroom. For uncontrollable leaks, Direct Line Home Plus customers can have an emergency plumber with them within three hours, and for problems with leaky boilers, Direct Line can provide a plumber at any time convenient to the customer. When facing an emergency leak, it’s important to act as quickly as possible in order to prevent further damage.”

Direct Line’s top tips for limiting damage caused by leaks

  • Find your stop valve (stopcock) – it is almost always on the ground floor and in a room where water will be used and can be critical in stopping a leak early
  • Turn your stop valve once every six months to stop it seizing up and check for rust
  • If you don’t have Direct Line Home Plus insurance, make sure you have the number for a reputable plumber handy at all times
  • Control the amount of damage caused by a leak by turning off all electricity, placing a bucket under the leak, wrapping a towel around the leak and turning on some taps around the house to limit pressure
  • Document the damage – this will make the claims process easier when you contact your insurer

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

  • 1Research conducted by Opinium among 2,002 UK adults between 15th and 18th September 2017
  • 2Of the 2,002 adults in the sample, 77 per cent (1,320) stated that they live with others. 77% of 51,767,000 (mid-2017 UK adult population) = 39,794,912

3  Total time spent in the bathroom calculated using ONS life expectancy at birth estimates for the UK (2014-16) for males and females, averaged out to represent the overall population (81.06 years). This gives an average adult (18+) lifetime of 63 years. The avearge time spent in the shower by UK adults is 17.6 minutes every day, which is 6,424 minutes a year. This amounts to 107 hours, or 4.5 days per year. 4.5 multiplied by 63 is 281 days, or 9.2 months.

For further information please contact:

Olivia Shalofsky

PR Consultant 

Direct Line Group

Tel: 01372 839 537

Email: [email protected]

Antonia Green

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

[email protected]m

0207 282 2967

Direct Line

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