Hand-washing: Do’s and don’ts

The hand is one part of the body that makes a lot of contact with the environment and can be a vehicle for transferring germs and contracting several diseases. Although limiting contact with one’s hand limits the tendency of picking up diseases, hand-washing is an established method of preventing the contraction of diseases with one’s hand. However, hand washing is only effective when it is properly done. Washing one’s hands without paying attention to certain established guidelines is as good as not washing the hands as the germs still remain on the hand.

Established guidelines for hand washing ensure that whatever a person picks up is completely removed when they wash their hands. The guidelines for proper hand washing are stated below. It is important to note that hand sanitizers cover for hand washing.

It is also important to note that antibacterial soaps do not provide extra advantages when used in handwashing. Regular soaps wash the hand as effective as antibacterial soaps, and there is no need to use antibacterial soaps especially for hand washing. Soaps also work effectively in their different forms. Powdered soaps are as effective as bar soaps which are equally as effective as liquid soap. Thus, one can use their preferred form of soap; others do not come with any extra advantage. One can also wash their hands with both warm and cold water. Whether warm or cold water, it must be running tap water.

Steps for proper hand washing

Place hands under a running tap and wet them completely. The water from the tap can be either warm or cold. The temperature of the water does not make it more effective, as it is the soap that removes all the germs and substance one may have picked up.

 Apply soap on cupped hands. The soap can either be a powder or bar or liquid. 

Lather soap on the front and back of the hands completely. Lathering simply means rubbing the hands together with the soap in the middle. When lathering the hands, place emphasis on the spaces between the fingers as well as underneath the nails and the back of the hand. The process of lathering thus involves making sure that the soap gets in contact with all parts of the hand, especially spots where germs may hide.

After forming lather with the soap, scrub the hand for a minimum of 20 seconds for effective removal of whatever one may have picked up earlier. Since you probably wouldn’t have a timer on you, you can make use of the “happy birthday” song. It takes about 20 seconds to hum it completely twice.

After scrubbing the hands, rinse them, again with running tap water, either warm or cold water.

Air drying or towel drying the hands is the next step after rinsing it.

It is important to mount special hand washing stations in private and public spaces and take hand-washing seriously, as it is a method of preventing infectious diseases that is both efficient and cost-effective.


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