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Lifebuoy celebrates Global Handwashing Day with national hygiene assembly


Average read time: 8 minutes

Lifebuoy's new Soaper Heroes programme helps children across the UK learn the importance of handwashing
  • Today, Lifebuoy is hosting one of the largest nationwide assemblies with NHS Doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, who will be speaking to more than 110,000 children on the importance of good hand hygiene
  • In September Lifebuoy announced the launch of their Schools Programme. Over 4,800 schools signed up to get involved, with more than one million children receiving hand hygiene education in the first month

The world’s no1. hygiene soap brand, Lifebuoy, is celebrating Global Handwashing Day (today, Thursday 15th October) for the first time in the UK, by teaching children the importance of handwashing throughout their day to keep them, and others, safe.

Research from 2,000 UK adults (1) revealed that 60% of parents want to see more hand hygiene education in schools so when schools returned in September, Lifebuoy launched a programme to educate primary school children on the benefits of handwashing as well as distributing free hand hygiene kits to schools.

The Schools Programme includes fun learning materials, videos, songs and science experiments for teachers to use to help teach children about why good hand hygiene matters, when are the key moments to wash or sanitise hands and how to do it thoroughly. The program was developed with expert input from teachers and the British Psychological Society and is endorsed by the Royal Society of Public Health and Global Handwashing Partnership. Lifebuoy has already worked with over 4,800 schools and has reached over a million children in the UK already... but they won’t stop there.

Today, on Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy has teamed up with NHS Doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, to deliver the nationwide assembly to 426 schools and over 110,000 children across the UK. Dr Ranj will teach children the role handwashing plays in preventing the spread of viruses such as colds, flu and COVID-19.

To demonstrate the need for good hand hygiene from a young age, Lifebuoy has also created a life-size flatlay(2) that draws attention to the things that children will inevitably come into contact with in a typical day. The image was designed by following three children as they go about their normal life with the footage capturing all the items they touched in a 24-hour period. The three children touched 186 individual items on average each day(3) including swings and slides, the buttons on the bus and at pedestrian crossings, the family hamster, a school computer, a newsagent’s door, as well as many, many toilet trips and a number of meals and snacks.

Image showing the 186 items a child touches on average everyday

There’s a billion reasons to get involved in Global Handwashing Day 2020

  • Lifebuoy have helped 1 billion people around the world improve their hand washing habits, in one of the world’s biggest hand washing programmes and now they have come to the UK to help reach the next billion.
  • Lifebuoy has partnered with schools in the UK to spread good hand hygiene messages and provide resources for teachers to use to engage their classes.

How can I get involved in Global Handwashing Day and the Schools Programme?

On Global handwashing Day, Lifebuoy is also announcing the creation of its Hand Hygiene Coalition, a collective of organisations with a mutual goal of enabling a generation of children in the UK to understand not only how to wash their hands, but importantly when to wash their hands.

Organisations involved in the coalition include members of The British Psychological Society, The Global Handwashing Partnership, Royal Society for Public Health, Parent Kind and others.

The coalition will develop educational material that will be piloted in a one hour, per class, per term lesson across selected primary schools in the UK from November, eventually reaching up to 2,000 primary schools by the end of March 2021.

Medical expert and NHS Doctor, Dr Ranj Singh explains why it’s so important we act now: “Handwashing has become increasingly important over the last few months as it’s been shown to be one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of coronavirus as well as seasonal colds and flu so I am not surprised parents are calling for more hand hygiene education.

Forming good habits when young is critical in helping to reduce the spread of infection, particularly as Lifebuoy has shown, children typically touch hundreds of items every day.

This is why I’m hosting a nationwide assembly with Lifebuoy to inspire primary school children to take hygiene into their own hands.”

Chris Barron, VP Beauty & Personal Care Unilever UK&I, said:“Lifebuoy has already reached over 1 million children in the UK but we're not stopping there. By teaming up with primary schools across the UK for a nationwide assembly we will inspire more kids to make hand-washing a priority.

As a dad of two primary school aged children, I know kids are into touching everything but I did not anticipate that they would touch hundreds of different items every day. We all know this goes hand-in-hand with just being a child, but with the increased risk of infection as we head out and about more, hand-washing is still the first line of defence against COVID-19 so we must continue to educate the next generation in good hand hygiene practises.”

For more information, the full video or imagery, please contact the Lifebuoy team at Weber Shandwick

Social Media: Twitter – @lifebuoysoap / YouTube – 'Lifebuoy UK' / Instagram -

Check out Lifebuoy’s video encouraging the nation to Bish, Bash, Bosh Bacteria

Notes to editors


(1)OnePoll survey – August 2020 of 2,000 UK adults, of which 546 parents responded to an online survey

(2)Image created by following three children for one day by strapping a camera on to them and manually recording all items touched in a diary. This image includes Aaliyah, 8 Years old, from Essex and the items she touched in a day.

(3)Over 559 items documented by diaries kept by three children’s parents across three days. Each item was only recorded once but touched multiple times. 186 is an average across the three days, and includes items includes all three children touched.

Lifebuoy Products:

Lifebuoy has introduced six new products in the UK and Ireland, including Liquid HandSoap and Hand Sanitiser Gel, which are both effective at killing 99.9% bacteria. Hand Santiser Gel, Liquid HandSoap, Hand Hygiene Wipes and Hand Sanitiser Spray are currently available to purchase. Lifebuoy will later be launching its Classic Red Bar Soap, and Moisturising Hand Cream + Anti-bac. Products are priced from RRP* £1 (for the Classic Red Bar Soap) and will be available in major retailers including Tesco and Superdrug. *RRP may vary

About Lifebuoy:

Lifebuoy is the world’s number one hygiene soap brand*, sold in more than 50 countries. When Lifebuoy launched in 1894, infectious diseases were the number one cause of death so Lifebuoy was a soap on a mission; to make cleanliness commonplace with an antibacterial soap that killed germs and was affordable to everyone.

Throughout the years, Lifebuoy has been there as a driving force for better hand hygiene. From 1918 when the flu pandemic hit, Lifebuoy soap was available on a mass scale. In the 1920’s Lifebuoy launched a school programme to teach young children and families the importance of hand washing. In World War II, Lifebuoy provided free mobile baths of hot water, soap and towels to those who’d lost their homes.

Fast forward to now, Lifebuoy continues on its mission to make cleanliness commonplace, by creating quality, affordable products and promoting healthy hygiene habits.

Since 2010, Lifebuoy has reached over 1 billion people through handwashing programmes globally and now Lifebuoy are back in the UK, with their Soaper Heroes Programme to teach children the importance of handwashing and make it a lasting habit to keep children and their families safe.

*Calculation based on Nielsen unit sales information for the total markets (approx. 40 countries). Latest 12 months available

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 reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 150,000 employees and generated sales of €52 billion in 2019. Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Dove, Knorr, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, Lux, Magnum, Axe, Sunsilk and Surf.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands delivered 78% of total growth and 75% of turnover in 2019.

Since 2010 we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have made significant progress and continue to expand our ambition – in 2019 committing to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2019 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and in 2020 - for the tenth-consecutive year - as the top ranked company in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

For more information on the USLP:

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