Handwashing Guidelines

13 June 2018

We all know the benefits of washing our hands but do we know what the latest guidelines suggest and why?

Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.

Running water has much less risk of any nasties breeding in it. Soap is much more effective than using water alone to lift soil and microbes from the skin. It is also a proven fact that people tend to scrub their hands more when using soap. It is also a known fact that kids, no matter how many times you've told them to pump once, will always ignore you. Alcohol hand rubs should only be used if your hands are not visibly soiled or if you have no hand washing available. 

It actually does not matter if the water is cold or hot - both have been shown to be as effective as the other. 

Lather your hands all over including the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. 

The harder and longer you scrub, the more the microbes are likely to be rubbed off. The recommended time is 20 seconds which is singing the happy birthday song twice! Under the nails often have the highest concentration of nasties. 

Rinse your hands well

Soap and rubbing lift the germs, rinsing washes them away - makes sense right. Soap can also irritate the skin if left on so double benefit here. 

Dry your hands using a clean towel 

Germs loooove wet environments and happily spread and grow in moist conditions so this is an important step. What is the best way? Well, critics are out with few studies having been done. It is thought that if you are willing to wait the time to air dry your hands either in a fancy machine or by shakin it than this is the best. Otherwise a dry, clean towel is second. Alternatively, wiping your hands on your partners sleeve is a pretty close third. 


Information provided by CDC and QH.

Written by Dee Coles

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