You’ve heard these words since you were old enough to wash our own hands, right? If you’re a parent, you may find yourself sounding like a broken record, repeating those same words to your own kids—all day, every day. If you work in the medical field, or you know someone who is, then you already know that frequent and proper hand washing is probably the single most powerful way to avoid spread of germs and disease. And now, during this COVID-19 crisis pandemic, it’s literally back to basics with the importance of simply washing our hands—with soap—as our first line of defense to avoid getting sick with this horrible virus.
Yes, wear a mask. Yes, wear gloves. It feels like the information presented in the news, and expert recommendations change as quickly as the weather. But when it comes to hand washing, there is no confusion or disagreement—washing hands saves lives.
If you have been washing your hands since you were about 3 years old, you may not think you need handwashing lessons now, but the CDC disagrees. So much so, that they actually have an entire page on their website dedicated to the importance of washing your hands—correctly. Since hand sanitizer products are a scarce commodity these days, if you have a supply already, then hold on to it for the times when you really need it and can’t properly wash your hands. But don’t let it replace the need for a plentiful supply of good old fashion soap. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help remove germs, but preferably should be used in situations where soap and running water are not readily available. A proper washing with soap and water will actually remove all types of germs from hands, whereas hand sanitizer only kills certain kinds of germs on the skin.
Now, let’s talk about technique. Washing your hands with intention is the only way to insure your efforts will yield the desired results of clean, germ free hands. The combination of water, and soap, is what gets the job done right.
- Wet your hands under running water
- Lather up your hands with soap— Be sure to lather them all over, front and back and in between the fingers
- Scrub your hands for about 15-30 seconds. Yes, sing the happy birthday song twice if you don’t have a good sense of time
- Rinse your hands under running water until all the soap is removed
Does it matter what kind of soap you use? Plenty of research has been done on the use of antibacterial (also known as antimicrobial) soaps. For professionals in a healthcare setting, there seems to be good reason to use them. We recommend our Hustle Bubbles antimicrobial soap for a strong hand washing experience. It has a pleasant smell, is not drying to the skin, and is made with simple, natural ingredients.
Let’s wrap up this discussion with an Interesting fun fact. Germs can actually be transferred more easily to and from wet hands, so when you’re done washing them, make sure they are dry before touching your face, your food, or anything else.