Handwashing 101

Washing handsJust about everything we come in contact with everyday harbors bacteria, viruses and germs — doorknobs, keyboards, cell phones, elevator buttons, faucet handles, shopping carts, gas pumps. With germs lurking everywhere it’s important to ensure good hand hygiene to prevent the spread of illness.

Below are a few facts that may inspire you and your family to wash your hands more often:

  • Gas pump handles are the filthiest surfaces we touch with loads of bacteria and viruses
  • Damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands
  • The average ATM has more germs than public toilets
  • The average human hand houses 150 different kinds of bacteria
  • There are typically between 10,000 and 10 million bacteria on each of your hands
  • Most germs can survive on your hands for three hours
  • Besides coughing and sneezing, door handles are the most likely way that cold viruses spread
  • 72 percent of shopping carts tested positive for fecal bacteria, 50 percent tested positive for E. coli
  • Only one out of three adults wash their hands after coughing and sneezing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following steps when washing your hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure you lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. That’s about the same amount of time it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Washing hands properly infographic,vector