Reviewing Proper Handwashing Guidelines

Like many habits we repeat on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget how to properly wash our hands. Kids are often the most forgetful or impatient; after all, handwashing isn’t exactly an exciting activity. But studies have shown that adults are also guilty as only 5% actually wash their hands the right way!

To keep you and your family healthy and to promote a safer environment for those around you, here’s a quick handwashing refresher.

The Five Steps of Effective Handwashing

Step 1: Get your hands wet.

Soap relies on water to properly lather and clean. Completely wet your hands up to your wrists, or even beyond if your forearms are possibly contaminated.

Step 2: Soap up your hands.

Never skip soap! Plain soap and antibacterial soap are both effective at removing germs from our skin. So you can choose your favorite soap or simply use what’s available.

Step 3: Lather and scrub for 20 seconds.

Lather up the soap and scrub every inch of your hands, including your fingertips and fingernails. Always actively wash for a minimum of 20 seconds. Time yourself or recite 20 seconds of a song. The “Happy Birthday” song, sung twice at a normal speed, equals about 20 seconds.

Step 4: Rinse with clean water.

Once your time is up, rinse off all of the soap with clean running water. Don’t use standing water for rinsing as this won’t effectively remove all bacteria.

Step 5: Dry with sanitization in mind.

Dry off your hands without reintroducing potential bacteria. This means air drying, using a clean disposable towel, or using a clean hand towel. You should replace your hand towels daily or every other day.

When Your Family Should Wash Their Hands

Remind your family to wash before and after:

  • Eating a meal or a snack
  • Opening a beverage by hand
  • Caring for an unwell family member
  • Touching their faces
  • Caring for a cut or scrape

It’s also crucial for them to wash after:

  • Any bathroom activities
  • Blowing their noses or sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Touching pets or pet food
  • Playing outdoors
  • Touching a public surface
  • Taking out the garbage

The CDC recommends handwashing as the most effective method of preventing illness as it removes 99% of germs. However, if you don’t have access to running water and soap, hand sanitizer is a useful alternative. Just be sure to wash your hands once you have the opportunity.

Monroe Family Dentistry goes the extra mile to create a safe, healthy atmosphere for patients.

Your family’s health and wellness are just as important to Monroe Family Dentistry as they are to you. In addition to meeting and exceeding health and safety standards for infection control, we also go to great lengths to ensure our visiting patients are feeling well before seeing us for their appointments.

Book your next visit today by calling our office or filling out this online form.