Date: May 1, 2020

Author: Dorothy Griffin


Is Your Hand Washing Effective?

While we were probably taught how to wash our hands before we could talk, a 2018 study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that “when it comes to handwashing before meals, consumers are failing to properly clean their hands 97 percent of the time.” This was a concerning statistic then, but even more so in light of today’s pandemic. The study found that while most consumers knew how they should wash their hands, they often rushed the process.

Proper handwashing is so important that even before the pandemic, every caregiver on our team completed specific training on the right way to wash hands.

So what is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Use soap and water whenever possible.
  • Scrub all surfaces of your hand including the top and bottom of the hand, between fingers, and under nails.
  • Remember that the 20-second rule is not the recommended time for the whole process, but the recommended time of scrubbing with soap between getting hands wet at the beginning and rinsing off the soap at the end.
  • Rinse with clean, running water.
  • Dry with a clean towel or air dry.

What about when soap and water aren’t available?

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Apply sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
  • Just as with hand-washing, make sure to cover all surfaces of your hand with the sanitizer, including top and bottom and between fingers.
  • Continue rubbing your hands together in this manner until your hands are dry. This will also take about 20 seconds, so resist the urge to rush the process by drying your hands on your pants or shaking them off.

As the process begins of “Opening Up America Again,” it is more important than ever to know how to protect yourself and others from the spread of coronavirus.

Why are all these steps important for handwashing? Read the science of why on this CDC page.

Date: May 1, 2020