Washing Your Hands: When to Do it, How to Do it, and Why You Need to Do it

How to wash hands properly

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself from getting sick. Especially now that we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping your hands clean is of top-most priority to help prevent the virus from spreading.

Why You Need to Wash Your Hands: Germs Spread Quickly 

I’m sure you already know that germs can quickly spread from one person to the next. Germs and viruses that cause respiratory and diarrheal infections are the top culprits of easy transmission. 

Germs can spread from other infected people as well as surfaces when you: 

👉  Touch your face, especially the areas of your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 

👉  Eat or prepare meals and drinks with unwashed hands. 

👉 Sneeze, blow your nose, cough into your palms, and touch objects or other people. 

👉  Be in contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. 

According to a study, people touch their faces 16 times within an hour. With unwashed hands, some germs are present, which you can’t see.   

When to Wash Your Hands 

This situation is a no-brainer – if your hands are dirty, you have to wash them. However, take note that even if your hands look squeaky clean, germs are still present. Washing your hands often can help you and your family stay healthy. 

I’ve listed the key times when you are likely to have germs and spread them. So don’t forget to wash your hands:

✅  Before, during, and after preparing food and drinks. Right way to wash hands

✅  Before you eat a meal. 

✅  Before and after caring for someone who is sick. 

✅  Before and after treating a cut or wound. 

✅ After using the toilet, whether it is to pee or poo. 

✅  After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing. 

✅  After touching an animal, feeding an animal, or disposing of animal waste. 

✅  After touching or removing the garbage. 

✅  After being in a public place and touching surfaces that other people have touched.

Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way 

You might think that you already know how to wash your hands. While it might be as easy as 1, 2, 3, there is actually a right way to wash your hands.

Follow these five steps every time you wash your hands.

Step 1: Wet your hands with running water and apply soap.

Step 2: Lather your hands with soap then rub your hands together. Lather between your fingers, back of your hands, and under your nails, especially if your nails are long.

Step 3: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. You can sing the happy birthday song twice should you need a timer.  

Step 4: Rinse your hands with clean, running water.  

Step 5: Dry your hands using tissue paper or a clean towel. 

An Alternative if Water and Soap Are Not Accessible 

There would be times when you won’t have access to running water and soap. When this is the case, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean. 

Although hand sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs, it quickly reduces the number of bacteria lurking on your hand. However, if your hands are visibly dirty, it won’t be as effective in cleaning them as it would with soap and water.

Final Words 

Now you might think that washing your hands can be a hassle, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. My advice is to carry on a handy bottle of alcohol or hand sanitizer, so you don’t have to go to the bathroom and wash your hands all the time. Washing your hands often, especially during these times will help you prevent infection.