Do You Actually Know How To Wash Your Hands



Thoroughly wet your hands and then apply some soap. Sorry? You might be quite surprised at the idea that people need to be shown how to wash their hands. Let’s face it, our parents probably taught us the process when we were kids – and youngsters then go on to wash their hands assiduously on every possible occasion. Don’t they?


Experiments have also found that people lie about having washed their hands. A prime example of this is when using the facilities at motorway service stations. At one particular establishment, electronic recording devices showed that only one-third of men and two-thirds of women actually washed their hands. Yet a survey suggested that virtually everyone claimed that they did so!


Incidentally, before the lesson continues, let’s say a ‘thank you’ to Ignaz Semmelweis. He was a 19th century Hungarian physician who discovered the important role of hand washing in avoiding cross-infection over a century and a half ago. He worked in a maternity clinic in Vienna and discovered doctors were completing tasks such as examining dead bodies and then mothers with newly-born babies without washing their hands. Deaths were drastically reduced after he insisted on introducing rules requiring them to do so.


Back to our quick lesson. With hands wet and soap added, rub your palms together until the soap is nice and bubbly. Next, rub one palm over the back of the other hand, then between the fingers of each hand. Rub the backs of your fingers by interlocking them, next around your thumbs, and then each palm with your fingertips. Rinse and dry. And that’s the recipe for clean hands! If that’s what you already do – congratulations. Sadly many people still think a fleeting pass under running water is enough.


Other survey results have shown that many people don’t wash their hands at key times. As well as the obvious after toilet use scenarios, these should also include after handling pets, emptying the bins, and other such tasks. Another key time people often neglect their ablutions is before eating, and yet some germs and bacteria can survive on hands for many hours before being transferred to what you then put in your mouth!


Whether your soap comes in a bar, pump, foam or liquid, the advice and techniques to good hand washing remian the same.


If the title of this blog seemed over-simple, these facts might emphasise why it’s a point well made!