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Say No to Infections – Learn about Proper Hand Washing Procedure

© Gina Sanders -

© Gina Sanders -

Everyone knows that cleanliness is the guarantee of health that’s why you should regularly wash your hands. Think how many times a day you clean your hands and how you do it. Do you just wash them with water or scrub thoroughly with soap? In fact, hand washing procedure is not as easy as it may seem.

Why is it Necessary to Wash Your Hands?

October 15 is declared the World Day of hand washing. According to experts of the UN and WHO, the problem of dirty hands has catastrophic consequences.

  1. Dirty hands are one of the main reasons for the high child mortality in Africa and Asia. Pathogens of such diseases as cholera, viral pneumonia, hepatitis, and influenza often get into the human body through dirty hands.
  2. Study made by scientists from the United States showed that on average, we have more than 4,700 species of bacteria on your hands.
  3. Most infections occur because people do not wash their hands. However, you should clean them before eating, after handling animals or patients and going to the toilet, after travelling on public transport.
  4. People rarely wash their hands and the apartments turn into a hotbed of infections because germs accumulate on door handles, light switches, table surface, in bathrooms and toilets, on clothing, towels, and bedding.
  5. Your dirty hands are the most popular cause of infection of the stomach and intestines.

Here are just some examples of microorganisms commonly present in our environment.

Dangerous microorganisms on your hands

Microorganisms Why are they dangerous
Salmonella bacteria Cause arthritis, Salmonella foodborne diseases, sometimes fatal.
E.coli Cramping abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, frequent stools, confusion, fever, weakness, and convulsions. Duration of disease 1-6 days.
Staphylococci Carbohydrate metabolism disorder, toxemia, skin inflammation, liver dysfunction and renal impairment. Intoxication. Very rarely fatal.

How to Wash Hands

The effectiveness of the hygiene procedures depends on whether you wash your hands properly.

General tips

  1. Clear hands. Remove all jewelry that should be washed separately.
  2. Soap. Soap molecules do an excellent job with the dirt.
  3. A lot of foam. The more foam, the cleaner skin. Foam consists of air bubbles surrounded by soap molecules, which clean the dirt. That is, the foam mechanically cleans of dirt.
  4. Lots of water. After rubbing the hands with soap, you should as carefully as possible wash off the foam with water. Water will wash away not only dirt but also the soap film.

Proper hand washing technique

  1. Open the tap.
  2. Rub hands with soap.
  3. Soap the faucet. The most common mistake is when a person with dirty hands takes the faucet, opens it, washes the hands, and then closes. As a result, all dirt from the faucet remains on the hands.
  4. Rinse the faucet and hands.
  5. Rub hands with soap again. Wash the inside and back of your hands.
  6. Do not forget the nails – try to rub the soap into them.
  7. Rub the soap for at least 30 seconds.
  8. Rinse off the soap.
  9. Close the faucet.
  10. Dry hands with a towel.

Of course, these rules are particularly important for public toilets. At home, the faucet should be always clean.

How to choose the water temperature

Warm or cold water – what do you prefer? For a long time, it was thought that the hot water washes away the bacteria and germs off your hands better than cold water do. However, the water hot enough to kill bacteria will be too hot for you.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to use hot water. In the USA, experiments were carried when participants were instructed to wash their hands with water of different temperatures – from 5 to 48 degrees above Celsius. 

The experiments have shown that the water temperature is not important to make your hands really clean.

To efficiently remove harmful bacteria from the plates, you can use water temperature of about 43 degrees above Celsius. But it is not very comfortable for your hands. Studies have shown that if you wash the dishes in cold water, you can also get rid of bacteria! The only difference is how quickly you can remove the grease. Of course, it’s easier to do with hot water. However, cold water also can do it, it just takes more time.

How often to wash the hands

When you wash your hands too often, the epidermis suffers. So, when is it necessary to wash your hands?

  1. Before you touch the food ready for direct use (sandwiches, salads, and so on).
  2. After going to the toilet.
  3. After each break when working.
  4. After contact with raw chicken, meat, and eggs.
  5. After a cut or dressing changes.
  6. After the removal of debris.
  7. After cleaning the flat.


Some more tips how to care for your hands skin.

  1. You do need to use antibacterial soap so popular due to advertising as it cleans off the skin everything – not only pathogens but also a useful film that protects against the introduction of harmful microorganisms. Therefore, use antibacterial soap only if there are wounds, abrasions, cracks, cuts and other injuries.
  2. The experiment showed that people, who scrub their hands only for 5 seconds, were not able to get rid of germs. But those who do it for 30 seconds, very well managed. So, when you will wash your hands next time sing aloud or silently a couple of verses of your favorite song – it is an average time enough to clean your hands properly.
  3. With allergies and very delicate skin, you should not use soap with additives. In this case, it is recommended to use baby soap.
  4. People with dry skin are recommended to buy special soaps with lanolin, melon or vegetable oils.
  5. If the skin is oily, you can use any cosmetic or toilet soap.
  6. In any case, when buying soap, carefully read the labels to know whether it is natural or synthetic. Synthetic soap cleans the skin very well washing away the whole fat layer, so it is not suitable for dry skin.

Okay, let us give a brief overview. Though it is more pleasant to use warm water, it does not guarantee that it is more efficient against bacteria than if you use cold water. It is important to use soap. Usual soap can cope with the task better than an antibacterial one. Moreover, the procedures should be long enough and takes about 30 seconds.

Author: Anna Wallace