How to Wash Your Hands Properly
Before COVID-19, washing our hands was not something we thought too much about. However, in a post-COVID-19 world, washing our hands has become a top news story. So, is there a right and wrong way to wash your hands? The short answer is yes.
While hand sanitizer kills germs, only the act of washing your hands with soap and water can physically remove dirt and germs from the surface of your skin. To remove as many germs as possible, it makes sense that the longer you spend washing your hands the more germs you will remove. A quick rinse under a running faucet doesn’t quite cut it.
Washing your hands should take no less than 20 seconds if you want to do it right. This is enough time to thoroughly lather the entire surface of your hands, front, back, in between your finger and under your nails with soap. The more you rub, the more germs you remove.
Wash your hands by placing them under running water, not dipping them into a bowl of standing water. If you use a bowl of standing water, the germs you just removed from your hands will wind up right back on your hands when you dip them into the now contaminated water. By placing your soapy hands under running water, you wash those nasty germs right down the drain.
Use soap, any kind of soap. According to the CDC, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit of using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap. All soap products produce a lather. These bubbles help to lift the dirt and germs from the skin, trap them in the lather, and then helps you wash them away.
Once your hands are clean, dry them using a dry disposable towel or let them air dry. Avoid using a fabric towel if possible, to prevent recontamination. For more information about how to wash your hands properly, visit cdc.gov.