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29 Sep

Are you washing your hands wrong?

Are you washing your hands wrong?

That may sound like a silly question, but only 1 in 6 people are doing all the steps correctly, according to researchers from the University of Arizona. With cold and flu season approaching, you may want to evaluate your hand washing routine to avoid the spreading or receiving of germs.

When should you wash your hands? Of course you could say whenever your hands look dirty or there are the obvious scenarios, such as every time you use the restroom or before and after you prepare/eat food.  But what about when you use your cell phone or tooth brush? While you don’t see it, there could be bacteria such as E. coli stewing on such items.

According to Men’s Health, the following are 10 secretly germy items that you might want to consider washing your hands after using:


1.    Your cell phone
2.    Your grill
3.    Your “clean” laundry
4.    Your toothbrush
5.    Your kitchen sponge
6.    Elevator buttons
7.    Your keyboard
8.    The ATM
9.    The gas pump
10.    Everything else in the bathroom

To use soap or not to use soap?..... it shouldn’t be a question, use Soap! Sounds obvious, but Charles Gerba, Ph. D, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, says 50 percent of people leave out this key component.  Antibacterial soap has been proven to do a better job at removing some germs than the regular soap.  A simple wipe of the hands in soap won’t cut it; you need to really rub your hands together and create friction as that helps clean in the grooves of your skin where the bacteria might be hiding. Backs of your hands, in between your fingers are important too.  

Just 20 seconds lathering up with soap will ensure you have done a thorough job. Don’t feel like counting in your head or pulling out the stop watch? Just sing a song to yourself, such as happy birthday (twice) or the alphabet song.  If you are more rock inspired, maybe the guitar riff from "Layla" by Eric Clapton, or how about that famous bridge in Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" about how "we will not let you go"? As a Red Sox fan the chorus of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" is about the right length and a personal favorite. Whatever option you choose, make sure it lasts 20 seconds to help give those germs the slip. FYI – The temperature of water really doesn’t matter, though warm water always makes us feel our hands are cleaner. You would have to get the water scalding to actually kill bacteria.

Lastly, make sure you dry your hands. Wet hands actually pick up more bacteria from whatever object you come in contact with next.  Clean paper towels can help rub off some last remaining germs as well. If you have to air dry, shake off the excess water, or do like kids do and dry them on the front of your jeans.

If you find those 20 seconds just too hard to manage, or you are somewhere with no soap or paper towels, hand sanitizers work great. No real rules here, just rub it around to coat your hands, backs and between fingers too, and you are ready to go.

Seanna Durham is a Sr. Business Development Specialist at Fashion Seal Healthcare® and has been with the company for eight years.  She has a wide range of knowledge in the industry - currently she works with our healthcare customers enhancing and developing a branded uniform program.  Prior to this she supported our retail I.D. customers and spent 11 years as a manager in a retail environment.  Seanna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of South Florida - Go Bulls!

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