Study Confirms North Americans Use Paper Towels to Clean More Than Any Other Country


Think about your usual cleaning routine—what tools do you use most frequently? Do you rely on your trusty dish sponge every day, or is your vacuum your go-to tool of the trade? Actually, if you live in North America, you probably use paper towels more than anything else, according to a study by Nielsen.

The study, which looked at the cleaning habits of people around the world, found that at 68 percent of respondents, globally the broom is the most popular cleaning tool. The mop follows it up at 65 percent, with rags in third place at 62 percent.

However, different regions (the study breaks things down into 5: Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa/Middle East, Latin America and North America) have different cleaning habits, so the results differ depending on where you are.

So, along with paper towels, North Americans also prefers brooms—again, they’re the most popular worldwide—and sponges. In the Asia-Pacific region, mops take the top spot, followed by brooms and rags. People in Latin America most frequently use brooms, buckets and sponges. Europe favors sponges, buckets and mops in that order, and the top three in Africa and the Middle East are brooms, mops and sponges.

If you’re curious about other cleaning tools and how they fare around the world, can see the rest of the tools and how popular they are in each region in the chart above.

According to Nielsen Global Business Partner Sarah Peters, along with location there are a lot of factors that go into what cleaning supplies people use. “While longstanding practices and traditions play a role in consumers’ cleaning habits, household spending capacity, as well as the physical structure of the home and the cleaning occasion, are important considerations in the path to purchase,” she said. “Products that are hugely popular in one country may be only marginally successful in another. Even within a country, consumers may have vastly different needs—for instance, rural consumers versus city dwellers.” Peters also noted that when it comes to cleaning tools, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

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