Washing hands is important for maintaining good personal hygiene and preventing the spread of germs and diseases. Our hands come into contact with a lot of surfaces and objects throughout the day and can pick up bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause illness.
Here are some reasons why it’s important to wash your hands:
- Prevent the spread of germs: Washing your hands can help prevent the spread of germs that cause illnesses like colds, flu, and COVID-19.
- Reduce the risk of foodborne illness: If you handle food without washing your hands, you can transfer harmful bacteria to the food, which can cause food poisoning.
- Protect yourself and others: By washing your hands regularly, you can help protect yourself and others from getting sick.
- Maintain personal hygiene: Regular hand washing is an important part of good personal hygiene and can help keep you healthy.
Overall, washing your hands is a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of illness and promote good health.
9 ways to wash hands
- After using the bathroom: One of the most important times to wash your hands is after using the bathroom, to prevent the spread of germs.
- Before eating: Washing your hands before eating can help prevent the spread of germs that can cause foodborne illnesses.
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing: If you blow your nose, cough or sneeze, you should wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs.
- After handling garbage or touching any waste material: Washing your hands after handling garbage or touching any waste material is important to prevent the spread of germs.
- After touching animals or their food: If you have pets or work with animals, washing your hands after handling them or their food is important to prevent the spread of germs.
- After touching dirty surfaces: If you touch dirty surfaces like door handles or shopping carts, you should wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs.
- After visiting a public place: If you visit a public place like a park, library or shopping mall, you should wash your hands afterward to prevent the spread of germs.
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick: If you are caring for someone who is sick, you should wash your hands before and after to prevent the spread of germs.
- Whenever your hands feel dirty: If your hands feel dirty, it’s a good idea to wash them to prevent the spread of germs.
How Germs Spread on Hands
Germs can spread to our hands in a variety of ways. Here are some common ways germs can spread to our hands:
- Touching contaminated surfaces: Germs can spread to our hands when we touch contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, and keyboards.
- Direct contact with the infected person: Germs can also spread to our hands when we come into direct contact with an infected person, such as by shaking hands or hugging.
- Through droplets from coughing or sneezing: Germs can also spread to our hands when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, and droplets containing the germs land on our hands.
- Contact with infected objects: Germs can spread to our hands when we touch objects that have been contaminated with the germs, such as shared phones, toys, or utensils.
- Through contaminated food or water: Some germs can be spread through contaminated food or water and can infect our hands when we handle or consume contaminated items.
It’s important to wash our hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of infection.
How Germs are Washed Away
When you wash your hands, water, and soap work together to remove germs from your skin. Here’s how it works:
- Soap breaks down the outer layer of the germ: Soap is a surfactant, which means it can break down the outer layer of germs, including bacteria and viruses, that are present on your skin.
- Water washes away the germs: As you rub your hands together with soap, the water creates a lather that traps the germs and washes them away from your skin.
- Friction helps remove germs: Rubbing your hands together with soap and water creates friction, which helps to loosen and remove any dirt or germs that are present on your skin.
- Drying your hands removes any remaining germs: Once you’ve washed your hands, it’s important to dry them thoroughly with a clean towel or air dryer. This helps to remove any remaining germs that may be present on your skin.
By washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, you can effectively remove germs from your skin and reduce the risk of infection.
Steps to Wash and Clean Your Hands
Here’s a step-by-step process to wash and clean your hands properly:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water.
- Apply soap to your hands.
- Rub your hands together to create a lather. Be sure to cover all surfaces of your hands, including the backs, palms, fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. You can sing “Happy Birthday” twice to help you keep track of the time.
- Rinse your hands thoroughly with clean, running water.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer.
- Turn off the tap with the towel or tissue to avoid recontaminating your hands.
Some additional tips to ensure you are washing your hands properly include:
- Use warm water if possible, as it can help to loosen dirt and germs.
- Use soap that creates a good lather and has anti-bacterial properties if available.
- Focus on cleaning under your fingernails and in between your fingers, as these are areas where germs can accumulate.
- Wash your hands for longer than 20 seconds if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If you’re unable to access soap and water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands.
Touch anything – Wash your hands clean
Touching objects or surfaces can transfer bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms from one surface to another or from person to person. Washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help remove these germs from your hands and prevent their spread to others.
When you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, these germs can enter your body and cause infections, such as the common cold, flu, or COVID-19. By washing your hands frequently, you can reduce your risk of getting sick and spreading illnesses to others.
Therefore, it is important to make it a habit to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly, especially after touching objects or surfaces that may be contaminated with germs, and before eating, cooking, or preparing food.
What happens when you do not wash hands
hen you don’t wash your hands, you can potentially spread germs and harmful bacteria to yourself and others. These germs can be acquired by touching contaminated surfaces, such as door handles, money, and public restrooms, or by being in close contact with someone who is sick.
Some of the potential consequences of not washing your hands include:
- Spreading illness: Without washing your hands, you can spread illnesses such as colds, flu, and stomach viruses to others. These illnesses can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe, and in some cases, they can be life-threatening.
- Food contamination: If you don’t wash your hands before preparing or eating food, you can transfer germs to the food, which can cause food poisoning. This can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Skin infections: Bacteria on your hands can cause skin infections, such as impetigo, which can lead to painful sores and blisters.
- Increased risk of infections: If you have an open cut or wound and don’t wash your hands, you increase your risk of developing an infection.
Overall, washing your hands regularly with soap and water is an important part of maintaining good hygiene and preventing the spread of illness and disease.
How to choose your handwash soap?
When choosing a hand wash soap, there are several factors you should consider:
- Effectiveness: Look for a soap that is effective in removing dirt, grime, and harmful bacteria from your hands. Antibacterial soaps can be a good choice for this purpose, but they are not necessary for everyday use.
- Skin type: If you have sensitive skin, look for a soap that is gentle and fragrance-free to avoid irritation. For dry skin, look for a soap that contains moisturizing ingredients like glycerin or aloe vera.
- Ingredients: Avoid soaps that contain harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances, which can irritate your skin. Look for natural ingredients like tea tree oil, lavender oil, or chamomile extract.
- Formulation: Hand-wash soaps come in different formulations, including liquid, foam, and bar soap. Choose the one that you prefer and find it most convenient to use.
- Sustainability: Consider choosing a hand wash soap that is environmentally friendly and made from sustainable ingredients. Look for products that are packaged in recyclable materials or refillable containers.
Ultimately, the best hand wash soap for you will depend on your personal preferences and needs. Experiment with different brands and formulations until you find the one that works best for you.
How long you should wash your hands with soap
o properly wash your hands with soap, you should do the following:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water.
- Apply soap and lather your hands thoroughly, making sure to cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice can help you time it properly.
- Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or let them air dry.
The recommended duration for washing your hands with soap is at least 20 seconds. This is the minimum amount of time needed to effectively remove dirt and harmful bacteria from your hands. It’s important to ensure that you wash all surfaces of your hands thoroughly, including between your fingers and under your nails.
If you’re in a situation where soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Apply enough sanitizer to cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry. However, it’s important to note that hand sanitizer is not as effective as soap and water for removing dirt and grime from your hands.
Ways to dry your hands after washing hands
After washing your hands, it’s important to dry them thoroughly to prevent the spread of bacteria. Here are some ways to dry your hands:
- Paper towels: Use a clean paper towel to dry your hands thoroughly. Then, discard the towel in a waste bin.
- Air dryer: Use an air dryer to dry your hands, making sure to rub them together to ensure they dry completely. However, it’s important to note that air dryers can spread bacteria and germs in the air, so it’s best to use a paper towel or hand dryer with HEPA filtration.
- Cloth towel: Use a clean, dry cloth towel to dry your hands, making sure to use a different towel from other people to avoid cross-contamination. However, cloth towels can harbor bacteria and germs, so they should be washed regularly.
- Shake off excess water: Shake your hands to remove excess water, then let them air dry.
Overall, the most effective way to dry your hands is with a clean paper towel or hand dryer. Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs.
How to Sanitize your Hands
Sanitizing your hands is an important step in preventing the spread of germs and harmful bacteria. Here’s how to sanitize your hands properly:
- Choose an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Apply a generous amount of sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
- Rub your hands together, making sure to cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Rub your hands together until they feel dry, which should take about 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, or eyes until your hands are completely dry.
It’s important to note that hand sanitizer should only be used when soap and water are not available. Hand washing with soap and water is still the most effective way to remove dirt, grime, and harmful bacteria from your hands. If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy, hand sanitizer may not be as effective.
In addition to using hand sanitizer, it’s also important to practice good hygiene habits, such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home if you’re feeling unwell.