Hand-Washing: 5 Ways You’re Doing It Wrong

woman washing hands
Think that hand washing is common? Think again.

While 92 percent of Americans say they believe it’s important to wash their hands after using the restroom, only 66 percent actually do, according to a survey conducted by the Bradley Corporation. As for washing with soap? Almost 70 percent admitted to skipping that step of the hygienic process.

Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Find out when and how to wash your hands properly.

When to wash your hands…

As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. In turn, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.

Always wash your hands before:

• Preparing food or eating
• Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
• Inserting or removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:

• Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
• Using the toilet or changing a diaper
• Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes, or waste
• Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
• Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
• Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
• In addition, wash your hands whenever they look dirty.

How to wash your hands…

It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these
simple steps:

• Wet your hands with very warm running water.
• Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
• Lather well.
• Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails. Many people forget to lather and rinse as far down as your wrists.