It is true that we have all managed to wash our hands perfectly well since we were young and never really had any issues before, but then the coronavirus came along and it changed everything. Since then, we have all put our handwashing skills into doubt and have questioned everything we once knew about how to correctly clean our hands. Well, here are some common FAQs that we’ll answer based on the latest expert tips about the right way to wash our hands.
How long should I be washing my hands for?
About 20 seconds is the recommended time. This should provide you with enough time to wash your palms, fingertips, fingernails, in between your fingers and thumbs, the backs of your hands, and your wrists.
What kind of soap should I use?
For public restrooms, definitely liquid hand soap. Bar soap is okay for your own home, but ensure that you use a soap dish with holes in the bottom that let the excess water drain out. As germs like moisture, a soap dish with small water pools is a bad idea. There are so many soap products out there, so mix and match until you find one you like.
Is it a problem to touch the faucet handle afterward?
This can be an issue, especially in public or work restrooms. The faucet handle may have the germs attached that you just worked so hard to remove by washing your hands! So, ideally use a tissue or paper towel to turn off the faucet once your hands are washed. In a perfect world, every restroom would have contactless faucets that use motion sensors to activate and turn off automatically after you are done.
Should I be scrubbing my hands very hard?
While you do not need to rub your hands raw in order to dislodge germs, you should be putting in a good amount of effort and use a strong water flow to remove all the soap suds properly.
How important is it to dry hands after washing?
Most people are pretty good at washing their hands, but drying is a separate issue. It is a common fact that germs prefer moisture, so wet or even slightly wet hands will not be doing yourself any favors. Do not wash your hands and then shake them around, as you could fling germs around the basin and other parts of the restroom, and do not just wipe your hands on your pants or shirt! In your own home, it is best for everyone living under the same roof to have their own towel (which should be washed at least once a week) to avoid contamination.
For public restrooms, paper towels are still the best option as any germs still remaining on your hands will be wiped off and sent into the trash bin. Hand dryers are okay, but there is some discussion that these actually blow germs onto the floor, wall, and even your own clothing, but hand dryers are still better than nothing.
When exactly should I be washing my hands?
In short, before you leave the house, when you arrive to your destination and there is a restroom available, before eating or preparing food, before and after cleaning your home, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing into a tissue, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, and after feeding or touching an animal or pet.
Should I be using hand lotion for dry hands?
Lotion is a great idea, as washing your hands so often can lead to dry, cracked hands that make it easier for germs to get inside. Use hand moisturizer a few times a day and especially before going to bed to keep your hands soft and supple. Some soap has moisturizing properties inside, but it is still good for your hands to use lotion.
Is it okay to use hand sanitizer?
Like hand wipes, try not to rely on hand sanitizer all day and avoid washing your hands. These things are okay in a pinch and when there is no other option, but continued use can also lead to dry hands and actually weaken your body’s defense against harmful bacteria. Try to use hand sanitizer with around 60% alcohol and rub your hands the same way you would if using soap.
Do your best to remember all those tips, practice social distancing whenever possible, and continue to wear a mask when in public.