Handwashing 101

With coronavirus it’s more essential now than ever before to practice and maintain good hand hygiene.

Just 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.