Nearly three quarters of UK mums say the toilet is the number one household facility they cannot do without, according to new research commissioned by Domestos to mark its new partnership with UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation.

When asked to rate which one of the seven essential household items they felt they could not live without;

• An overwhelming 71% said that the toilet was the one thing they could not live without

• In comparison, only 10% that said they couldn’t cope without their washing machine and 6% without their refrigerator

The snapshot survey of 1,000 mums from across the UK also revealed that a dirty toilet is a mum’s biggest hygiene concern when it comes to keeping their children healthy;

• A third said that they were concerned that a dirty toilet would harm their child’s health, ranking it above dirty work surfaces (21%), catching germs from other children (19%) and stale food (17%)

• And yet despite this concern, over two fifths (44%) of mums surveyed said that their idea of a sanitation crisis is running out of loo roll.

The research, which marks the launch of a new partnership between Domestos and UNICEF which will fund vital sanitation work in South Sudan and Vietnam, highlights the harsh difference between access to proper and essential sanitation facilities, such as toilets, that UK mums take for granted, compared to the reality that mums face in developing countries.

Across the world, sanitation is a life and death issue. Currently 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic toilets  and everyday an estimated 3,000 children die from diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation

In South Sudan, a country with one of the worst access rates to sanitation facilities in the world, less than 10% of the population use a toilet or latrine .

Championing this vital cause, the partnership between Domestos and UNICEF sees 5% of the average proceeds received  from specially marked bottles of Domestos on sale in Sainsbury’s in the UK, donated to UNICEF’s sanitation work in Vietnam and South Sudan.

David Titman, Brand Manager for Domestos, says,

“With an estimated 45 million toilets in UK homes , access to a clean toilet is something we’d never dream of having to do without. As a leader in home hygiene that has helped protect families from germs for over 80 years, it’s our responsibility to take action against the global sanitation crisis. Through our new partnership with UNICEF we hope to better educate our consumers about the issue and inspire them to help support UNICEF’s worthy programme, which will help improve access to toilets for children and families across the world.”

David Bull, UNICEF UK Executive Director said,

“It is completely wrong that billions of people across the world still don’t have access to the most basic toilet, even though we consider it the one household item that we couldn’t live without in the UK. Being able to use a proper toilet is no joke. Poor sanitation leads to illness, causes children, especially girls, to miss out on school, and in many cases leads to death. It shouldn’t be like this.

“We are thrilled to be working with Domestos so we can reach thousands of children and their families with better sanitation facilities, so that they really can survive and thrive.”

Through the support of the Unilever Foundation and Domestos, the partnership with UNICEF will result in an estimated 400,000 people living in open defecation free communities across nine countries; Gambia, Ghana, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan and Vietnam
For more information on Domestos’ partnership with UNICEF and the global sanitation crisis log on to


For more information, please contact:
Liz Jones  Email:  Tel : 0207 375 6096

Notes to Editors

• Survey conducted by MumPoll, from 19-20th June 2012, of 1,000 UK mums

• The seven items that mums were asked to rate in order of most essential were a toilet (71%), washing machine (10%), refrigerator (6%), cleaning supplies (6%), computer / internet (5%), telephone (1%) and kitchen sink (1%)

• Other interesting research findings include:

o Over a third of UK mums (39%) find the time to clean their toilet twice a week in order to keep their families safe from germs
o Older people know the value of a toilet, with almost three quarters of people aged over 55 claiming that their idea of a sanitation crisis is no access to a toilet. However, younger people are more concerned with toilet luxuries, with over half of 18-24 year olds claiming that running out of loo roll is a sanitation crisis
o Surprisingly a fifth of 18-24 year olds claim to clean their toilet daily and 10% claim to use the toilet more than ten times a day

About Domestos

• Domestos is sold in 35 countries around the world and as Unilever’s leading toilet hygiene brand, it has helped protect families from germs for more than 80 years. As such, the brand is uniquely positioned to help address the sanitation crisis.  Domestos’ commitment to deliver more social value will contribute to a key pillar of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, aiming to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, and in turn, create a sustainable future.

About the Domestos/UNICEF partnership

• During 1st July to 30th September 2012 in the UK , Unilever gives 2p for every specially marked bottle of Domestos in Sainsbury’s stores to UNICEF UK [Registered Charity No: 1072612]
• UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and protecting children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

About the Unilever Foundation

• The Unilever Foundation is dedicated to improving quality of life through the provision of hygiene, sanitation, access to clean drinking water, basic nutrition and enhancing self-esteem. The Foundation is one action Unilever is taking to help meet its goal of helping more than 1 billion people improve their health and well-being, and in turn, create a sustainable future. For more information, visit

The global sanitation crisis, facts and figures

• Over one million children every year don’t make it to their fifth birthday because of diseases caused by poor sanitation
• Of these, almost half - 1.1 billion people – have no sanitation facilities at all, and practise open defecation, the riskiest sanitation practice of all.
• More than 280 million children under five live in households without access to improved sanitation facilities.
• Approximately 1.1 million children under five die each year - or about 3,000 a day – as a result of diarrhoea.  It is the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide.
• Around 2.4 million deaths could be prevented annually if everyone practised appropriate hygiene and had access to improved sanitation and safe drinking water.
• Basic sanitation, covering subjects such as toilets, latrines, handwashing and waste, falls under Millennium Development Goal 7; ensuring environmental sustainability.
• Sanitation has been out funded by other areas in the global WASH work (water sanitation and hygiene) by as much as 13 to one, even though it could be argued that most water-related diseases are really sanitation-related diseases.
• Though it is unlikely that the world will meet the MDG sanitation target by 2015, encouraging progress is being made. At current rates of progress, we will reach 67% coverage in 2015, better than previous projections but still far from the 75% needed to reach the target. Unless the pace of change in the sanitation sector can be accelerated, the MDG target may not be reached until 2026.