How to wash your hands correctly

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We’ve been washing our hands – and occasionally our mouths – with soap since we were kids, so it’s easy to assume we know how to do it. But the stats suggest that most of us are wrong.

A 2018 study suggested that just three per cent of us wash our hands correctly. The study monitored 383 people as they cooked and prepared food. It revealed that more than 97 per cent of them did not wash their hands correctly – after they were showed a food safety and hygiene video.

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy. Here’s how.

  1. Run your hands and wrists under clean water. The temperature doesn’t matter.
  2. Lather your hands in soap. Scrub your palms, the backs of your hands, your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. If you don’t keep a timer and aren’t in the mood to yet again sing Happy Birthday to yourself, humming the chorus of Dolly Parton’s Jolene or Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon will work just as well.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using and an air dryer or a clean towel.

If in doubt, follow this guide from the World Health Organisation:

If you aren’t able to wash your hands using soap, use a hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol. However, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that hand sanitiser doesn’t necessarily kill all types of germs and is less effective on hands that are visibly dirty.  

When you should wash your hands, according to the CDC:

  • before, during, and after you prepare food
  • before eating food
  • before inserting or removing contact lenses
  • before and after treating a cut or injury
  • before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • after using the toilet
  • after changing nappies
  • after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose
  • after touching animals, their food, or waste
  • after handling rubbish.

Do you wash your hands often enough? What measures are you taking to keep yourself healthy?

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Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

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Written by Liv Gardiner


Total Comments: 8
  1. 0

    Coved-19 is a virus, – viruses are killed by high Alkoline environments, – soap is a medium alkaline environment, probably fine.

    Short cut, – use Borax, mixed with water until there is still powder on the bottom, – you can not over intensify Borax, – only a certain amount will dissolve, – but that gives you a high alkaline environment, – totally safe, does not penetrate through the skin, – in any case we are all short of Borax so we get Arthritus.
    Keep a bowl of mixed Borax beside your sink (s) washing hands is simple, – plunge your hands in the Borax mixture, rub as per instructions above, then shake hands all around you, – to spread the Alkaline environment, – don’t dry hands, – why would you dry off your armour against the virus?

    Soak your mask in Borax solution, – just let it dry, – wash your clothes in Borax solution, – don’t rinse.
    But certainly, Tumble or line dry, – your clothes are then bristling with thorns against the viruses.

    Use your imagination, Borax will kill the virus, put it wherever you may be absorbing the virus, spray it into the air, – whatever, and indeed your clothes wont burn, as Borax is used in wool and chopped/newspaper house insulation as it suppresses fire.
    All you need to do is submerge your hands, etc and walk away, – you will be a Walking Warrior to remove Coved-19 wharever you go and whatever you touch

    • 0

      Thanks for this, I didn’t know about Borax, very interesting! Does this dry out your hands, Lookfar? Alcohol was mentioned in the article. I was a sterile compounding pharmacist, made up IV bags , haemodialysis bags, etc, and spent a lot of time in the sterile room ( now I wish I could go back there!!!). Alcohol , more than 70 percent will kill viruses so wipe down any surfaces, door knobs, handles you name it. Unfortunately at the moment I can’t get any isopropyl alcohol at work, with so many things being out of stock (e.g. essential medications, panadol for babies), due to people stocking up, but I am using the remaining amount of Isocol that we have at work, to spray and wipe the front, counter benches,register, phones, computers etc morning and night. I will keep Borax in mind!

    • 0

      Hi Laura, no it does not dry out your hands, – I put it under my arms, – other private places etc, – a cheap and effective deodorant, – 3 or 4 hours, – sometimes longer.
      But beware it is a salt, so has a poison rating of LD 50, – same as table salt, so if you take it internally, – the which I am not suggesting here, – you should know that the average dose, Internally, – that Humans need is 5 mg. daily – and that that 80% of western people do not have enough borax in their diet is another thing, – all they get from that shortage is Arthritus. – Another issue.
      Tropical vegies, – Hollow stems, – another issue.

    • 0

      Thank you again…extremely useful information for people to learn, which I certainly did today !

  2. 0

    I’ve resisted the urge to become a keyboard warrior … But, here goes:
    I haven’t been “showed” how to wash my hands. I just learnt, along with how to conserve water in our environment. Twenty second running water hand washes may have something in common with 20 minute showers?
    The Borax “solution” seems much more sensible in times of heightened hygiene hysteria 🙂

  3. 0

    The 11 squares don’t mention “under nails.”

  4. 0

    You are obviously qualified to give us such useful information. May I ask for help? How much borax would one need to take to help with arthritis?

  5. 0

    I have now done some research and was horrified to read that borax should certainly not be used as you advocate. It can cause irritation, hormone issues toxicity and even death.
    It really is dangerous to encourage people to use these “remedies” unless you are qualified to give advice. The virus has caused us enough trouble as it is.



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