Hand Washing Steps: How to Clean Your Hands the Right Way

How many of you still remember the proper hand washing steps? Let us remind you how and why it’s important to keep your hands clean in this pandemic era!

A woman washing her hands in the kitchen sink.

How many of you still remember the proper hand washing steps? As COVID-19 seems to go on with no end in sight, many people have been forgetting or ignoring the health protocol. This behaviour is dubbed “pandemic fatigue.” 

World Health Organization (WHO) defines pandemic fatigue as “demotivation to follow recommended protective behaviours, emerging gradually over time and affected by a number of emotions, experiences and perceptions. 

“At the beginning of the pandemic, most people were willing to comply with the health protocol. Today, many have gotten tired of the prolonged situation, as their effort seems to amount to nothing. As a result, they have been demotivated to wear their masks, perform social distancing and wash their hands the correct way.. However, you don’t have to go down the same path. 

It’s such a pity as washing your hands is probably the easiest, most inexpensive and most significant method to stop the spread of COVID-19 or any other coronaviruses. If you have lost touch with the proper way to wash your hands, then let us remind you if hand washing steps and how to do it correctly.

The Importance of Washing Hands  

Your hands have been called “One of the most complex and beautiful pieces of natural engineering in the human body.” They are the tools that allow humans to interact with the environment. Unfortunately, there are many diseases in your surroundings, and your hands are the first to get in contact with them.

Germs and viruses can enter through your eyes, nose and throat, especially when your immune system is weak.

Furthermore, you can quickly spread diseases to other people, especially when you sneeze and cough into your hands, and then touch other objects or people.

A woman looking forlornly at the mask she’s holding in her grip.
Pandemic fatigue makes people ignore health protocol, including the proper hand washing steps

Hand Washing Steps 

Here’s how to wash your hands properly: 

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water 

It’s essential to use running water. If you wash your hands in a basin, the water in it may have already been contaminated. You can use either warm or cold water, as both works just fine to remove germs and viruses. Remember to turn off the faucet to save water. 

2. Apply enough soap to cover the entire surface of your hands 

Soaps contain surfactants that can lift microbes away from the skin. Also, there has been no evidence that plain soaps are less effective than antibacterial ones, so fret not and use any soap that’s available.. 

3. Rub and lather all parts of your hands, even under your nails 

Rubbing and lathering your hands can induce friction, which helps soap get rid of germs and viruses. To make sure all surfaces are cleansed, do this: 

a. Scrub the back of one hand with your other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do this with the other hand. 

b. Clasp and rub your hands together, then clean between the fingers. 

c. Rub the back of your fingers against your palms. 

d. Cover your thumb with your other hand and rub it. Do this with your other thumb. 

e. Rub your fingertips on the palm of your other hand. Do this with your other set of fingertips. 

4. Make sure you scrub your hands for 20 seconds 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no study has determined the ideal length of time for washing hands. Even so, washing for 20 seconds is more beneficial in removing germs.

5. Rinse and dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them 

As germs transfer more easily between wet hands, it’s necessary to dry them right after washing. 

A partial view of a pair of hands in the midst of being washed with soap and water running from a faucet
Cleaning in between fingers is part of the proper hand washing steps

When to Wash Your Hands 

You should wash your hands before and after: 

  1. Touching your eyes, nose and mouth 
  2. Touching your mask 
  3. Touching items outside your home that are often in contact with other people 
  4. Visiting public places 
  5. Caring for a sick person 
  6. Eating 

In general, hand washing is a must at these times: 

  1. When they’re visibly dirty 
  2. Before, during and after preparing raw ingredients, like meat and vegetables 
  3. After touching animals and their food, waste and cages 
  4. Before and after treating a wound 
  5. After using the bathroom 
  6. After changing diapers 
  7. After handling garbage 

When soap and water are not available nearby, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub it into your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of hand washing steps, remember to continue implementing the health protocol in your daily life. It may be tedious, but it’s better than doing nothing. Washing your hands may seem trivial, but it can go a long way in ending this COVID-19 pandemic.

References

  1. World Health Organization. 2020. Pandemic fatigue [online]. [Accessed 23 February 2022] 
  2. World Health Organization. 2009. How to Handwash? [online]. [Accessed 23 February 2022] 
  3. National Health Service. 2018. How to wash your hands [online]. [Accessed 23 February 2022] 
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018. When and How to Wash Your Hands [online]. [Accessed 23 February 2022] 
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018. Show Me the Science – How to Wash Your Hands [online]. [Accessed 23 February 2022] 
  6. Unicef. 2021. Everything you need to know about washing your hands to protect against coronavirus (COVID-19) [online]. [Accessed 23 February 2022] 

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