The Proper Way You Should Be Washing Your Hands

If 2020 had a motto, it would probably be something along the lines of "wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart." In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the "#SafeHands Challenge" in an attempt to encourage people all around the world to wash their hands properly and frequently in hopes of slowing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 infections. While you may think washing your hands is not that difficult of a task, you're most likely not doing it the proper way. WHO has provided guidance on two different methods to clean your hands; the handrub method and the handwash method.

The first method is the handrub method. This technique is used to promote good hand hygiene, lasts approximately 20 to 30 seconds, and applies to the use of hand sanitizer and similar products. The first step is cupping one hand and applying a palmful of sanitizer. You then spread the sanitizer by rubbing your palms together, then rubbing your palms together with your fingers interlaced. The next step is a bit tricky to describe but think of the "bro handshake," and place the back of the fingers of one hand into the palm of the other hand, interlocking the fingers. In this case, you play the role of both "bros."  Rub the sanitizer along the front and back of the hands in a rotational motion and voila, your hands are now clean and safe.

How to do the proper handwash technique

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to remove all germs, if the resources are simply not available, an alcohol-based sanitizer, containing at least 60 percent alcohol, is recommended to clean your hands.

When soap and water are available, enter the handwash method. This method is recommended when your hands are visibly soiled and lasts 40 to 60 seconds. Wet your hands with water and apply adequate soap. Start by rubbing your palms together, then place your right hand, palm down, over the backside of your left hand, interlacing the fingers. Do this a few times and then switch hands. Next, bring your hands back palm to palm and interlace your fingers, scrubbing up and down a few times. Return to the bro handshake, to ensure you are cleaning under your fingernails. Now on to the thumbs, with the left thumb clasped in the right palm, rotationally scrub a few times and then switch sides. Rub the hands together once more with clasped fingers and rinse. Dry your hands thoroughly with a single-use towel, but before you toss it in the trash, make sure to close the faucet with the towel.

By now we've all seen the videos on social media of people singing "Happy Birthday" twice while performing this method, but after so many months, you're not alone if you've changed up the tunes for your own sanity. So, whether it's with hand sanitizer or good ol' soap and water, make sure to clean your hands often and effectively.