How Long Should You Wash Your Hands?

Importance of handwashing

Handwashing has constantly been an authoritative defense mechanism against bacteria and viruses that can be transmitted to us through the things we touch. now, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, it ’ second even more critical to wash hands regularly. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the coronavirus disease ( COVID-19 ), can live on different surfaces for hours or even days ( depending on the fabric ).

Washing your hands by rights can protect you from introducing the virus to your respiratory tract by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your font. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) guidelines are to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you have trouble keeping track, try humming the entire “ felicitous Birthday ” song twice ahead rinsing. Rushing the process can result in cross contamination and increased illness. A 2018 composition by the United States Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) found that up to 97 percentage of us wash our hands incorrectly. Knowing when and how long to wash your hands makes a remainder in how frequently you and your syndicate get sick, particularly while the new coronavirus is active voice. In one workplace survey, employees who were trained in handwash and hand sanitation practices used 20 percentage fewer sick days due to improved hygiene.

When should you wash your hands?

To protect yourself and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC recommends taking extra precautions and washing your hands in these situations :

  • after being in a public place
  • after touching a surface that may have been frequently touched by others (doorknobs, tables, handles, shopping carts, etc.)
  • before touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth in particular)

In general, the CDC recommends you routinely wash your hands in the follow situations :

  • before, during, and after cooking, especially when handling chicken, beef, pork, eggs, fish, or seafood
  • after changing a child’s diaper or helping them with toilet training
  • after using the bathroom
  • after caring for your pet, including feeding, walking, and petting
  • after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing
  • before and after administering first aid, including treating your own cut or wound
  • before and after eating
  • after handling garbage, recycling, and taking out the trash

It ’ randomness besides wise to wash your hands and change your clothes after you get home from being out in public, and to wash your hands frequently during the workday. According to the CDC, the average office worker ’ s desk is covered in more germs than a toilet toilet seat. You should besides make sure to wash up after you ’ ve judder hands at a social or work function, as hand-to-hand contact is a park way germs spread.

Proper handwashing steps

here ’ s how to wash your hands effectively to help stop the spread of viruses and other germs :

  1. Start by turning on the water and getting your hands wet. A lot of people reach for soap as the first step, but wetting your hands first produces a better lather for cleaning.
  2. Apply liquid, bar, or powder soap to your wet hands.
  3. Lather up the soap, making sure to spread it up to your wrists, between your fingers, and on your nails and fingertips.
  4. Rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Rinse your hands well.
  6. Dry your hands thoroughly with a clean and dry cloth hand towel.

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Do you wash longer if you’re cooking?

You should be mindful of bacteria while you ’ ra preparing food. Wash your hands much, about once every couple of minutes. This doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate beggarly you need to increase the clock time you take to wash your hands, though. If you ’ re following the right steps, 20 seconds should be enough meter to thoroughly cleanse your hands of potentially harmful pathogens. Food condom experts point out that if you don ’ t have a timer handy to count off 20 seconds, humming the “ happy Birthday ” song to yourself doubly in a row will approximately equal the mighty total of time.

Do you wash your hands in hot or cold water?

Since heat kills bacteria, it might seem dependable to assume that ardent or hot water would be better for washing your hands. But according to the experts, there ’ s no noteworthy deviation between the two. The temperature you would need to heat the water to in order to kill pathogens would scald your hide. In fact, studies have shown that there ’ s no open evidence that washing your hands in warm water is better for getting rid of germs. sol, run the faucet at whatever temperature you ’ d like, keeping in beware that cold tap water saves on energy and water consumption .

What kinds of soap work best?

When it comes to what soap is best to use, the answer might surprise you. alleged “ antibacterial ” soaps don ’ t inevitably kill more germs than regular soaps. In fact, soaps that contain antibacterial ingredients might good be breeding stronger and more resilient forms of bacteria. Use any liquid, powder, or bar soap you have available to wash your hands. If you ’ re washing your hands vitamin a frequently as you should be, you might want to look for a soap that ’ s humidify or marked as “ gentle ” on your hide to prevent drying out your hands. Liquid soap may be more commodious if you ’ ra keeping it on your counters and sinks .

What do you do if there’s no soap?

If you run out of soap at home or find yourself in a public public toilet with no soap, you should still wash your hands. Follow the normal handwash routine outlined above and dry your hands well subsequently. In a 2011 sketch that compared handwashing with and without soap, researchers concluded that while soap is highly preferable ( reducing E. coli bacteria to less than 8 percentage on hands ), washing without soap is silent helpful ( reducing E. coli bacteria to 23 percentage on hands ) .

Can you use hand sanitizer instead of soap?

Hand sanitizers that contain more than 60 percentage alcohol are effective at removing some harmful bacteria from your skin. however, they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate help dissolve dirt and oils from your hands, and they won ’ t be adenine dear at eliminating bacteria as washing your hands by rights. If you ’ re in a top at the repair ’ s position, in a push train station, or stuck at your position desk, it ’ mho good to have hand sanitizer around to get rid of possible contaminants. But if you ’ rhenium fudge, handling diapers, taking care of a vomit loved one, or using the toilet, washing your hands is decidedly preferable.


Following the proper operation for washing your hands will promptly become second nature. Scrubbing hands together for 20 to 30 seconds is adequate time for the soap to work its magic trick and get rid of possible contaminating bacteria. Try to be particularly mindful of washing your hands during the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza temper, and when you ’ re taking worry of people who may be immunocompromised. Washing your hands is an easily, effective way to stop the spread of germs — and the best part is, it ’ s completely under your control .

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