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Proper Hand Washing Techniques: 7 Simple Steps

Proper Hand washing Techniques
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), proper hand washing techniques are vital to lowering infectious disease transmission.

Proper Handwashing
Proper Hand washing Techniques

Proper Hand Washing Techniques

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand washing hygiene is vital to lowering infectious disease transmission.

In fact, research has shown that proper handwashing lowers the rates of certain respiratory and gastrointestinal infections up to 23 and 48 percent, respectively. Especially when it’s killing bacteria.

The CDC states, washing your hands frequently is particularly important to help prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria.

In this article, we’ll look at the key steps to washing your hands correctly to ensure they’re free of germs that can cause serious infections and illnesses.

See Also: Is Antibacterial Soap Bad? A Genuine Look into Myths

Proper Hand Washing Techniques: Key Points

  • Always try to use clean and running water when you wash your hands.
  • Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces on your hands and wrists.
  • Scrub the hand and wrists for at least 20 seconds.
  • Lather and rub your hands briskly. Scrub all surfaces, especially under you fingernails.
  • Dry your hands and wrists with a clean towel.

How to wash your hands With Proper Hand Washing Techniques

Below is the seven-step Proper handwashing technique endorsed by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO):

Steps to washing your hands properly

  1. Wet your hands with clean — preferably running — water.
  2. Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of your hands and wrists.
  3. Lather and rub your hands together briskly and thoroughly. Make sure to scrub all surfaces of your hands, fingertips, fingernails, and wrists.
  4. Scrub your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Rinse your hands and wrists under clean — preferably running — water.
  6. Dry your hands and wrists with a clean towel, or let them air-dry.
  7. Use a towel to turn off the faucet.

The key to washing your hands is to make sure you thoroughly clean all surfaces and areas of your hands, fingers, and wrists.

Here are more detailed proper hand washing steps recommended from the WHO. Follow them after you’ve wet your hands with water and soap.

After you’ve completed these steps, you can rinse and dry your hands.

Does it matter what type of soap you use? 

Plain soap is just as good at disinfecting your hands as over-the-counter antibacterial soaps. In fact, research has found that antibacterial soaps aren’t any more effective at killing germs than regular, everyday soaps.

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of the antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban. The reasons cited by the FDA for the ban of these agents included:

  • antibacterial resistance
  • systemic absorption
  • endocrine (hormone) disruption
  • allergic reactions
  • overall ineffectiveness

So, if you happen to have older bottles of antibacterial soap stocked away, it’s best not to use them. Throw them out, and just use regular soap instead.

Also, there’s no evidence to suggest that the water temperature makes a difference or change impact. According to one study, washing your hands in warm water doesn’t seem to get rid of more germs.

The bottom line is that it’s safe to use whatever water temperature is right for you, and use any regular liquid or bar soap you have on hand.

See Also: Why Shouldn’t You Be Using Human Soap On Your Dog?

See Also: Is Triclosan Soap Actually Safe? Old Research Revisited Now

When To Use Proper Hand Washing To Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is particularly important when you’re in situations where you’re more likely to acquire or transmit germs. This includes:

  • before and after you:
    • consume foods or drinks
    • prepare food or drinks
    • are exposed to someone with an infectious illness or disease
    • enter a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home, or other healthcare setting
    • clean and treat a cut, burn, or wound
    • take medication, such as pills or eye drops
    • use public transportation, especially if you touch railings and other surfaces
    • touch your phone or other mobile device
    • go to the grocery store
  • after you:
    • cough, sneeze, or blow your nose
    • touch visibly dirty surfaces, or when there’s visible dirt on your hands
    • handle money or receipts
    • have touched a gas pump handle, ATM, elevator buttons, or pedestrian crossing buttons
    • shake hands with others
    • engage in sexual or intimate activity
    • have used the bathroom
    • change diapers or clean bodily waste off others
    • handle garbage
    • touch animals, animal feed, or waste
    • use fertilizer
    • handle pet food or treats

How to prevent dry or damaged skin With Proper Hand Washing

Whether it’s Dry, irritated, or raw skin from frequent hand washing it can raise the risk of infections. Damage to your skin can change the skin flora. This, in turn, can make it easier for germs to live on your hands.

To keep your skin healthy while maintaining good hand hygiene and using proper hand washing, skin experts suggest the following tips:

  • Avoid hot water and use a moisturizing soap. Wash with cool or lukewarm water. Hot water isn’t more effective than warm water, and it tends to be more drying. Opt for bar (instead of liquid) soaps that have a creamy consistency and include humectant ingredients, such as glycerin.
  • Use skin moisturizers such as lotions. Look for skin creams, ointments, and balms that help keep water from leaving your skin. These include moisturizers with ingredients that are:
    • occlusive, such as lanolin acid, caprylic/capric triglycerides, mineral oil, or squalene
    • humectants, such as lactate, glycerin, or honey
    • emollients, such as aloe vera, dimethicone, or isopropyl myristate
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain skin conditioners. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with humectants help ease skin dryness, while emollients replace some of the water stripped by alcohol and hand washing.

Proper Hand Washing Techniques: Skin Care Takeaways

  • Always try to use clean and running water when you wash your hands.
  • Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces on your hands and wrists.
  • Scrub the hand and wrists for at least 20 seconds.
  • Lather and rub your hands briskly. Scrub all surfaces, especially under you fingernails.
  • Dry your hands and wrists with a clean towel.

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