The survey of 2,700 Americans in 25 US cities by branding company Quality Logo Products asked how often they showered, brushed their teeth, changed their sheets and changed their drawers. It found — to our relief — that nearly three-quarters of respondents showered at least once a day, nearly 94% brushed their teeth at least once a day, more than 90% changed their sheets at least once a month and 86.6% changed their underwear at least once a day. Most Americans in each city showered almost every day, changed their underwear every day, brushed their teeth twice a day and didn't let three weeks go by without putting fresh sheets on the bed.
Sounds normal, right? But the survey went further, assessing the cleanliness of each specific city with a lengthier set of questions. Including the four basic questions above, city residents were asked how often they cleaned their toilets and floors and how often they washed their hands after going to the bathroom.
Residents of Miami, New Orleans, Charlotte, Detroit and New York can give each other a high five without fear, because they outranked the rest of the filthy hordes in cleaning their bodies and their homes. At the bottom of the barrel were Pittsburgh; San Francisco; Washington, DC; Denver; and, nastiest of all, Seattle.
Striking a deal in DC? You might want to think twice about shaking that proffered hand — DC came in dead last for washing hands after using the toilet, with more than 25% of residents saying they always or often skipped washing up after zipping up. Puckering up on Pennsylvania Avenue? DC ranked second-worst in dental care, with more than 12% of District dwellers reporting brushing their teeth only every two or three days, if that. And don't even think about going past first base: more than 18% of DC residents also said they wore the same pair of underwear for four or more days in a row. (Though if you actually do fall into bed with some stinking senator, take comfort — DC was not among the worst cities for changing bedclothes, so at least the sheets will be clean.)
Quality Logo Products also looked into what might be shaping these habits, asking respondents to rank how germ-phobic they considered themselves to be. Not surprisingly, three of the five most hygienic cities were also the most concerned about germs, with Miami topping that list, with New York and New Orleans following not far behind.
Strangely, Washington and San Francisco, among the five worst urban cesspools in the US, were also the most germ-phobic. We're scratching our heads. And other places.