A recent study showed that only 5% of the population washed their hands correctly. Worse, 10% typically don’t wash their hands at all after using the restroom, and an additional 33% don’t use soap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your hands is the single greatest way to reduce the spread of infections disease.
How to Wash Your Hands:
The CDC recommends the following steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel (including a paper towel) or air dry them. Also, avoid mechanical hand dryers.
Hand sanitizers have been found to be less effective than washing your hands with soap, however they can be a decent replacement if you don’t have access to soap and water. If you do use a hand sanitizer, pick one with at least 60% alcohol.
When to Wash Your Hands:
According to the CDC, you should wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Washing your hands is an easy way to help prevent yourself and others from getting sick. Try to focus on washing your all over your hands for 20 seconds with soap, whenever possible. It’s certainly worth the few extra seconds!