National Handwashing Awareness

When done correctly, hand washing is the most effective way to kill germs and prevent the spread of disease. While most people are good about washing their hands before preparing food or after using the bathroom, there are many other commonly touched things every day that are crawling with germs — money, keys, cell phones, gas pump handles, shopping carts and water fountains to name a few.

Here are some other interesting facts about handwashing:

  • Every 30 minutes you come into contact with 300 surfaces on average exposing you to over 840,000 germs.
  • 50% of all foodborne illness outbreaks are due to failing to wash hands correctly.
  • Fecal matter can be found on 16% of cellphones, 14% of banknotes, and 10% of credit cards and elevator buttons have 22% more bacteria than toilet seats.
  • Most people only wash their hands for 6 seconds and 33% don’t even use soap.
  • Only 5% of people wash their hands correctly. Learn the best steps to washing your hands below.

Here are the best steps to wash your hands effectively according to the Center for Disease Control:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizers instead. Not all sanitizers are effective so choose one that has at least 60 percent alcohol to kill all germs lurking on your hands.