Is hand washing as simple to use as just wetting your hands, putting out some soap, and rubbing it around? According to science, you may be washing your hands incorrectly. A study conducted using 120 participants had 50% of those participants use a specific hand washing routine developed by the CDC. The other half was given specific hand washing instructions by the World Health Organization.
The differences were interesting. The CDC group was given the instructions for the CDC method, which was a three step process. On average they took about 35 seconds to wash their hands, but had more bacteria overall on their hands than the other group. The WHO group, using a very specific six step process, took 45 seconds on average to wash their hands, and ended up with less bacteria on their hands overall. While the first group spent less time washing their hands, the second group had less bacteria. This means that efficiency versus quality is at play with hand washing: spend more time washing your hands and chances are you’ll have less bacteria on them, but you’ll be spending more time in front of a sink and rubbing soap in your hands.
While most people aren’t dealing with hospital level contaminants and need to go to this degree of efficiency with hand washing, it just goes to show that putting in a few extra seconds can really help in the long run.
Curious as to what the best way to wash your hands is? Check out this chart by WHO that shows you the most effective way to remove bacteria and germs from your hands: