If your hands are not clean and you touch your face or touch other public surfaces, you may be infecting yourself and others or spreading germs or disease. Colds, flus, and infectious diarrhea are all known to spread by hand-to-hand contact. Yet, in a survey of adults in the U.S., 92% claimed they regularly wash their hands after using the restroom but only 77% actually did.
Washing your hands regularly can help keep you and those around you healthy by controlling the spread of germs (bacteria and viruses) as well as by removing plain, old dirt. Take the time to wash your hands regularly. Even if you already wash your hands, take the time to do it regularly and right. Here's how.
Turn the tap on and evenly spread the water on your hands.
Use any temperature of water. Contrary to popular belief, hot water does not remove bacteria more effectively than cold water.
Use soap. Any type of soap will work, but if it helps you wash your hands more consistently to have soap that is a fun shape or color, or a pleasant fragrance, go for it.
A soap does not have to be antibacterial to do a good job. Soap works by removing germs and soil rather than by killing germs. Scientists question whether antibacterial soaps do any better at preventing germs and disease than regular soaps, and there is some concern that widespread use of antibacterial soaps may breed bacteria that are resistant to those antibacterial agents. Antibacterial soaps may also dry the skin more than ordinary soaps.
Work up a lather on both sides of your hands, in between your fingers, and your wrists. Remember to wash around and under your fingernails.
Wash your hands for about 15-20 seconds, around the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday". Be sure and rub your hands vigorously. Don't just rinse off the soap right away. Give it time to do its job and give yourself time to get soap everywhere it should be. Wash underneath the fingernails as well.( Rub your fingertips in palm of your hands).!
Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water with your hands pointed downward but not touching the sink. This removes both the soap and the bacteria that was on your hands.
Use the paper/towel to turn off the faucet, particularly in a public bathroom. If the faucet turns itself off on a spring or a photocell, let it. If not, use a paper towel, or use your elbow or forearm.
Dry your hands with a clean towel. Although they are not as good for the environment, paper towels are more sanitary for drying your hands than cloth towels. If you use cloth towels at home, launder them regularly. If you are in a public restroom, use the hot air dryers if they are available. Use paper towels only if your hands are really wet.
Wash your hands frequently, especially in these situations:
After handling surfaces that many people touch, such as doorknobs and railings
Before preparing or handling food.
After handling uncooked eggs or meats.
After handling garbage.
After handling animals or animal waste.
After handling money.
After handling blood.
Use a paper towel to open the door on the way out of a public restroom instead of touching the handle with your freshly washed hands. Don't assume that everybody takes care to wash their hands before leaving. They don't.
If you're not near a sink and you need to wash your hands, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If used correctly, it will kill most bacteria (except clostridium difficile). Be aware that it will not necessarily remove other soil. That is, if you just changed the oil in your car, killing germs is not the only reason to clean your hands. It is better to wash your hands if you can.
You don't need to use loads of soap for washing your hands to be effective. As long as you have plenty of suds, you're doing the job. Use a bit of extra soap if your hands are especially dirty or oily.
You can't just wash your hands with water. Germs love warm moist places so you need soap to remove them.
Remember to move up your elbows, too(especially if you've been working with dirty fluids[e.g. working in a butcher department at a grocery store]). This should help to make sure that you get germs off of your arms as well. Although you don't use your arms for contact with items that much, you probably cross your arms often, and it helps to keep yourself and others healthy.
If you have a lot of grease on your hands, for instance from changing the oil in your car, scrub your hands with a mixture of sugar and washing up liquid to remove the grease easily.
Bar soaps can be pretty and smell nice, but they can also grow bacteria (such as pseudomonas); liquid soaps are safer. Bar soaps are certainly better than nothing!
Waterless hand sanitizer is a good choice when no soap is available, but using it too frequently will cause the bacteria on your hands - and in your body- to become immune to it and possible antibiotics, which can lead to serious complications.