Show Me the Science – Hand Washing
May 3, 2020
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. The CDC recommends cleaning hands in a specific way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. Using soap to wash hands is more effective than using water alone because the surfactants in soap lift soil and microbes from skin, and people tend to scrub hands more thoroughly when using soap, which further removes germs.
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.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Evidence suggests that washing hands for about 15-30 seconds removes more germs from hands than washing for shorter periods.