Proper Handwashing: Most Missed Areas and How To Clean Them

We all know that proper handwashing is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs and diseases such as the flu or Norovirus. However, just running your hands under water with a little soap isn’t enough. In fact, studies have found that only 70% of people wash their hands and only 30% of those people wash their hands with soap. It’s a start, but not enough to adequately kill germs and bacteria.

Check out this image from skin hygiene company, Deb:

Courtesy: Deb Group

Courtesy: Deb Group

The purple areas are frequently missed areas and red are the most frequently missed. As you can see, the backs of hands, in between fingers and finger tips tend to get missed during the hand washing process. That means many people just aren’t killing off the germs.

I’ve mentioned these handwashing steps from the Centers for Disease Control a few times:

  • 1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • 2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • 3. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • 4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • 5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Deb takes that a step further, offering these images and six steps for proper handwashing:

Courtesy: Deb Group

Courtesy: Deb Group

You can take additional measures in getting rid of all of those germs and bacteria by utilizing a hand and nail brush to clean under your nails and scrub your cuticles.

Additionally, make sure your clean hands do not come in contact with the sink faucets, door knobs or light fixtures immediately after washing. Instead, use a disposable paper towel to turn off the water and lights and open the door. Paper towels are also the best method of drying your hands to prevent the spread of bacteria. Studies have shown they do a better job than electric dryers, which tend to spread bacteria.

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