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7 Common Hand-Washing Mistakes You Might Be Making

Do you dry your hands completely after washing them?
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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have been advising the public to wash their hands, which is considered one of the best ways to prevent the risk of infection. While there are already lots of resources that teach us the correct handwashing technique, we make the following handwashing mistakes regularly.

  1. You don’t wash your hands often enough.

    There are key times when you need to wash your hands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The critical times are before mealtimes, after using the toilet, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. When you do not wash your hands before these times you’re most likely to get and spread germs. 

  2. You don’t use soap.

    Admit it! We often run our hands under running water without slathering them with soap, especially when are rushing—it is a big mistake. Dr. Aileen Marty, a professor of infectious diseases at Florida International University, says soap is important because its ingredients “create a chemical reaction that grabs onto the germs so they rinse right off with the lather.”

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  3. You rely on antibacterial soap.

    A lot of antibacterial soaps are marketed as more capable of destroying germs and bacteria than others. However, the CDC, citing studies, says antibacterial soaps are not necessarily more beneficial than plain soaps. The best thing to do is to make sure you lather every part of your hands and scrub them with soap for the recommended amount of time.

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  4. You don’t wash your hands long enough.

    When you wash your hands, don’t rush! The rule of thumb is to do so for about 20 seconds. The CDC says that according to evidence, washing your hands for around 15 to 30 seconds removes more germs than washing for shorter periods. If you don’t want to count to 20 seconds, you can hum your favorite tunes. Here’s a list of songs you can sing while washing your hands aside from “Happy Birthday.”

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  5. You don’t dry your hands completely.

    After washing your hands, the next thing to do is to dry them completely. Most germs thrive in moist environments, so not drying your hands completely means you give any missed bacteria an ideal environment to grow.

  6. You don’t clean your towels often enough.

    Another way to dry your hands after washing is to use a clean, dry towel. Towels should be allowed to dry completely. They can be an optimal environment for bacteria to grow when they are wet. Experts say hand towels should be washed after every three uses, but you can use your towel longer if you hang it on a bar and let it dry thoroughly.

  7. You touch dirty surfaces after washing your hands.

    Touching germy surfaces, like a faucet or a doorknob, after washing your hands will just waste the efforts you put into washing your hands. So be careful!

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