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DIRTY SCHOOL TOILETS: A HIDDEN ISSUE - The School Toilet Report finds that 9 in 10 UK children face issues with poor school toilets, impacting wellbeing and school attendance

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DIRTY SCHOOL TOILETS ARE A HIDDEN ISSUE - The School Toilet Report by Domestos finds that 9 in 10 UK children face issues with poor school toilets
DIRTY SCHOOL TOILETS ARE A HIDDEN ISSUE - The School Toilet Report by Domestos finds that 9 in 10 UK children face issues with poor school toilets
DIRTY SCHOOL TOILETS ARE A HIDDEN ISSUE - The School Toilet Report by Domestos finds that 9 in 10 UK children face issues with poor school toilets
  • One quarter (27%) of UK school children experience discomfort and issues with concentration caused by ‘holding it in’ and not wanting to visit dirty or unsafe school toilets

  • 1 in 10 (10%) children in the UK– an average of 3 children per classroom - deliberately skip food or drink to avoid using a school toilet

  • ​Majority of children (88%) have never told an adult how bad the school toilets are

LONDON, Nov. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This World Toilet Day, Domestos has released ‘The School Toilet Report’, a study examining the experiences faced by UK children and their school toilets. The report reveals that nine in ten (87%) children face issues with their school facilities, causing anxiety, difficulty concentrating in class and even missing days at school. This is despite parents stating that ‘access to clean and private toilets’ is as important as ‘overall school cleanliness’ and ‘teaching quality’ in schools.

The School Toilet Report - which spoke with both parents and children (aged 6-13) in the UK – finds:

  • Eight in ten (84%) children reported cleanliness as an issue in school toilets, including unflushed toilets, wet floors and wee or poo around the toilets

  • Nine in ten (87%) children report neglected toilets, including missing or broken items such as seats or lack of toilet roll

  • Half (50%) of all children feel unsafe using school toilets. Almost half (42%) report toilet doors that do not lock. One in three (30%) report toilets with no doors

These experiences are impacting children’s wellbeing. According to the study:

  • One in ten (13%) UK children report ‘discomfort’ and ‘finding it hard to ‘concentrate in class’ due to ‘holding it in’ to avoid using dirty and poorly maintained school toilets

  • One in ten (10%) UK children say that they deliberately don’t eat or drink water at school to avoid using the toilet

  • Impacts extend to school absence, with almost one in ten children (7%) missing days at school to avoid using school toilets

Parents, however, seemingly unaware of the issues as four in five (78%) rate their child’s school toilets as “good”. Two third of UK parents (64%) say they believe their child’s school toilets are better now than when they went to school. The visibility of the issue to both parents and teachers is a major challenge as just 12% of children in the UK have told an adult about the poor state of their toilets. These findings come as many parents have not been into their children's school for nearly two years, following the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Beevor, VP Home Care, UK&I said: “This report shows that poor school toilets aren’t something that is just unpleasant for kids, for many it can impact their enjoyment of school. We have been working to help solve issues of poor sanitation for many years, and were not anticipating for it to be such a hidden problem in the UK.

“This is a complex and often unseen issue which we know we can’t solve on our own. As a result of the findings of this report, we will be looking at ways in which we can collaborate with schools, NGOs and education organisations to help find solutions. As an immediate first step we have produced 'Let's Talk School Toilets' a discussion guide to help parents start this discussion with their children, making this invisible issue more visible.”

To help parents better understand their child’s experience with school toilets, Domestos has partnered with author and parenting podcaster, Clemmie Telford to create 'Let's Talk School Toilets', a guide for parents on how to tackle what can be an embarrassing and awkward conversation on school loos. Parents can access the conversation guide at

Clemmie Telford, author of acclaimed parenting book ‘But Why?’, said: "Some memories of my own school toilets aren't nice, and I assumed that they would be better for children nowadays days. Domestos' research suggests that sadly isn't the case. It's definitely something I intend to keep talking to my kids about. I am encouraging you all to have this conversation too; to find out what’s going on and start to improve the situation for all kids.”

To find out more about Domestos’ mission to improving sanitation facilities across the world, visit

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The School Toilet Report, 2021

The School Toilet Report – which also surveyed parents and children in South Africa, India and Poland - marks Domestos latest campaign to help communities stay healthy through access to better, safer sanitation and hygiene.

Domestos conducted an online survey - July and October 2021 – which comprised of 4,115 parents with children between the ages of 6 and 13 and 3,862 children in the same age group and who attended school in some capacity.

  • India parents (1,026), India children (928)

  • Poland parents (1,040), Poland children (1,002)

  • South Africa parents (1,020), South Africa children (951)

  • UK parents (1,029), UK children (981)

Research findings:

  • 4 in 5 parents (78%)​ rated the cleanliness of their children’s school toilets as “good”

  • 2 in 3 parents (71%)​ said they were happy with their children’s school toilets

  • 2 in 3 parents (64%)​ say their children’s school toilets are better now than when they went to school​

  • 9 in 10 (87%) children report neglected toilets, with 6 in 10 (59%) reporting issues surrounding handwashing or and half (50%) reporting issues around safety

  • 1 in 4 children (27%)​ have reported a negative physical response as a consequence of avoiding the school toilets

  • 1 in 10 (13%) children experience discomfort from not going to the toilet at school

Further information on research findings is available on request.

About Domestos

With over 90 years of experience in toilet hygiene and germ protection, Domestos is committed to building cleaner, safer toilets for all. Domestos has always been recognised for its strength as a disinfectant which kills germs. In 2009, the brand began backing World Toilet Day to raise awareness of the power of clean, safe toilets to save lives. Domestos also supports UNICEF to tackle unsafe sanitation and improve hygiene, waging a war for the past 10 years on unsafe sanitation and helping 29 million people get access to cleaner, safer toilets. Now, this target has been reset to 100 million more people by 2030. To find out more visit

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day.

For more information about Unilever and our brands, please visit

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