More people are paying attention to their cleanliness habits, and that includes the proper washing of hands. Washing your hands regularly can prevent you from catching diseases spread by disease-causing microbes and pathogens like the coronavirus. Hand washing has to be performed properly, however, to destroy these microorganisms before they have a chance to spread.

When to Wash Your Hands

You can protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick by washing your hands at specific times of the day. For instance, always wash your hands before and after you prepare food for yourself and others. Additionally, always wash your hands before and after eating. Other activities that can likely spread germs if your hands are not washed afterward include, but are not limited to:

  • Using the bathroom.
  • Coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Petting your dog or cat.
  • Picking up items on a floor or taking out the trash.
  • Changing a baby’s diapers.
  • Handling cash.
  • Before and after handling a wound or cut on yourself or others.

Any activity that dirties your hands is a reason to wash them soon afterward.

How to Wash Your Hands

The first step in washing your hands is to wet your hands with warm or cold running water. It’s a good idea to turn off the tap to conserve water. You should then lather and scrub your hands with the soap, making sure to get in between the fingers and underneath fingernails. Using a bar of antibacterial soap might be more effective in killing germs, but it’s not necessary if hands are washed thoroughly. The scrubbing should go on for at least twenty seconds, which is just long enough for the germ-killing ingredients in the soap to do their job.

You can then turn the tap back on and rinse your hands as usual. Be sure to use running water for rinsing. A basin full of standing water is a breeding ground for germs, and rinsing your hands in that goes against the very purpose of washing your hands. If you can, shut the tap off with your elbow to avoid recontamination of your hands. Never dry your hands by wiping them on your clothes because your clothes carry germs as well. Instead, dry them with a clean paper towel or an air dryer.