Is Washing Your Hands Really That Complicated?

Washing your hands is a pretty fundamental exercise. We all learned how to do it his kids. But suddenly, in the presence of COVID-19, there is a whole lot more emphasis on ‘doing it right’. Apparently, there are many of us who, despite our efforts, are not realizing the maximum benefits from hand washing because we are doing it incorrectly.

Is washing your hands really that complicated? Apparently, it is. So much so that WebMD recently published a post discussing mistakes that could be “sabotaging”our efforts to keep our hands clean. There were no fewer than six mistakes on their list.

While this post will not go into detail, let us look at the six mistakes with a general understanding that hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent getting sick.

1. Washing Too Infrequently

At the top of the list was washing too infrequently. Experts say we should be washing her hands after being in public places. We should be washing after coughing or sneezing, before touching the face, before and after eating, and on and on. If we wash our hands as frequently as the experts say, will we have time for anything else?

2. Not Lathering Up

Lather is that which makes soap effective as a surfactant. What is a surfactant? It is a substance that breaks the bond between two surfaces. Soap breaks the bond between dirt and skin, thereby allowing water to wash the dirt away. Washing hands without producing enough lather means not allowing the soap to do its thing.

3. Not Thoroughly Rinsing

If lather is what makes soap effective, rinsing is what makes the act of hand washing complete. We need to spend time thoroughly rinsing our hands in order to make sure we get rid of everything the soap managed to loosen.

4. Failing to Scrub the Entire Hand

Another mistake is failing to scrub the hands entirely. We focus on the front, because we contact surfaces with that portion of her hands, but not the back. Not good. Experts say we should be scrubbing every part of our hands.

5. Finishing Too Soon

Have you seen the social media meme asking what your hand washing song is? The point of that meme is to drive home the fact that hand washing should last at least 20 seconds. The idea is to pick a song that takes at least that long to sing, then make a point to perform it while washing so as to guarantee you wash long enough.

6. Failing to Dry Off

Last but not least, failing to dry the hands after washing is apparently a no-no. Why? Experts say it’s because germs are more easily transferred by wet hands. Failing to dry properly increases the risk of picking up new germs right away or, in the event your hands are not thoroughly clean, passing germs to someone else.

The question of drying brings up another question of the best method for doing so. At home, you’re going to use a clean towel most of the time. But what about public restrooms?

Alsco, a company that sells and rents uniforms, linens, and cleaning supplies to businesses, says that disposable paper towels are the best option for public restrooms. Cloth roll towels are also effective. They recommend against electric hand dryers for the simple reason that the machines have proved to be harbingers of germs.

How often do you wash your hands? When you do wash, do you follow all of the expert guidelines? Apparently, many of us do not. Apparently, hand washing is more complicated than our mothers and grandmothers thought.