You know that washing your hands is super important in the war against germs. But it turns out that getting your clean on isn’t as simple as sudsing for a few secs at the sink.
In fact, according to new research published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the most effective way to wash your hands is a veeery specific six-step process that takes about 43 seconds from start to finish:
- Rub your hands together palm to palm.
- Rub your right hand over your left and clean between your fingers. Switch.
- Put your hands palm to palm, interlace your fingers, and rub.
- Interlock your fingers again, but this time with the backs of your fingers touching the other hand's palm and rub.
- Wrap one hand around the opposite hand’s thumb and rub. Switch.
- Rub the fingers of one hand in the palm of the other. Reverse.
How exactly did experts come to this conclusion? To test the effectiveness of hand-washing techniques, researchers had one group of nurses and doctors in a UK hospital wash their hands with a three-step method using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. A second group used soap and water and followed the six-step recommendation issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). The researchers then tested both groups for residual bacteria on their hands and found that the docs who used the six-step soap and water method came out cleaner after an interaction with a patient.
The WHO also created a visual graphic that goes into even more detail than the six steps outlined in the study:
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So the next time you head to the sink, you might want to pay a little more attention to your scrubbing technique.