Proper hand hygiene or following the essential steps of hand washing to a T is one of the most effective (if not the most effective) ways to minimise the spread of infectious diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In fact, studies have shown that proper handwashing lowers the rates of certain gastrointestinal and respiratory infections up to 48 and 23 percent, respectively. In addition, washing your hands regularly is important to significantly prevent the spread of the new coronavirus known as COVID-19.
In this article we’ve wrapped up some key points on correct hand washing technique and its essential steps to encourage more awareness on the simple procedure for hand washing and why it has to be done correctly.
Why Wash Hands in the First Place?
It cannot be overstated that keeping one’s hands clean is one of the most vital habits everyone should have to prevent going down with any illness or disease as well as spreading germs to others. Many diseases and health problems are easily spread by not washing hands with soap and clean running water.
So it should follow that one of the reasons we need to wash our hands is to prevent illnesses and spread of infections to others. Proper handwashing with soap and running water removes germs from hands. Subsequently, this helps prevent infections and diseases because:
- Without even realising it, people touch their eyes, nose, and mouth. People get sick when germs get into our body through our eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Harmful germs and bacteria from dirty, unwashed hands can contaminate the foods and drinks that people prepare or take. Also, some germs can easily multiply in some types of foods or drinks, causing people to get sick.
- Dirty hands carry germs and other harmful microbes that can be transferred to other objects, like doorknobs, tabletops, handrails, or toys, and can then be further transferred to someone else’s hands.
- Following the steps of effective hand washing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and other digestive problems and respiratory infections and may even help prevent eye and skin infections.
It’s likewise important to promote proper handwashing to educate other people on how it can help them and their communities stay healthy. Subsequently, this will significantly reduce the following, among many others:
- the number of people getting sick with diarrhea,
- the number of diarrhea-induced illnesses in immuno-compromised people
- the number of people getting respiratory illnesses, such as colds
- the rate of absenteeism in schoolchildren due to gastrointestinal illness
Also, washing hands frequently helps prevent the overuse of antibiotics, which is the single most vital factor that causes antibiotic resistance around the world. Preventing sickness and other health problems with regular handwashing lessens the amount of antibiotics people take and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. Properly following the steps of hand washing can likewise prevent people from getting sick with germs that are already resistant to antibiotics and that can be difficult to treat.
Easy-to-Follow Steps on How to Wash Your Hands
Endorsed by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO), the following are the essential steps of effective handwashing:
- Wet your hands and wrists with clean water. Running water is recommended.
- Apply enough soap to make a lather to cover all the surfaces of your hands and wrists.
- With the lather, rub your hands together thoroughly, making sure to scrub all surfaces of both hands, wrists, fingernails, fingertips, and those spaces in between fingers.
- Scrub your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds, making sure every surface is soaped while scrubbing.
- Rinse your hands and wrists with clean water. Again, running water is most preferable.
- Dry your hands and wrists with a clean, dry towel. If a hand dryer is available, air dry your hands and wrists.
- Use a towel or tissue to turn off the tap and dispose of the towel or tissue properly.
Important Tips to More Effective Handwashing in Commercial Washrooms
Any water temperature will do the job
Studies indicate that water needs to be more than 130°F to start killing off bacteria on the surface of your hands. But the human skin cannot sustain exposure to scalding hot water. The same studies show that different temperatures of water do not have a significantly different effect on the number of bacteria that correctly following the steps of hand washing removes.
Thus, rather than worrying about the heat or the water temperature, focus on applying the right handwashing techniques. The friction caused from intense scrubbing will surely get rid of those germs off your hands.
Plain soap and water does the trick
Obviously, we’ve always associated handwashing with water and soap, and technically, it’s not proper handwashing if we wash our hands with water alone. In fact, as opposed to washing with water only, using soap has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of digestive problems like diarrhea by 40 percent.
Surprisingly however, CDC has found that some antibacterial soap varieties are actually “not any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.” This is so because triclosan, which is one of the ingredients in antibacterial soap variants, helps grow antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Always go for the touch-free taps and other touch-free products
It’s not very surprising to know that the dirtiest place or surface in commercial washrooms is not actually the doorknobs or the toilet seat: it’s the handles of those taps. With your hands being exposed to bacteria that goes airborne after flushing the toilet, you easily become the carrier of these bacteria that contaminate those tap handles that could eventually be passed on to the next users.
Fortunately, modern-day washrooms now implement touch-free taps or sensor taps that eliminate the need for commercial washroom users to use handles or levers to get running water in the washroom. These touchless taps, such as our DB840 / DB845 at Dolphin not only automatically provide clean running water, they significantly minimise any risks of cross-contamination between every user thus preventing the spread or transmission of those harmful microbes.
Complete your handwashing by drying your hands properly
For those harmful bacteria, “the wetter, the better” is their mantra, where it’s easier for them to move from one surface to another with a little liquid mobility. Hence, the imperative need to dry your hands after rinsing them with clean running water after every washroom use to complete those steps of hand washing properly.
Again, thankfully these days, commercial washrooms are now equipped with super-powered hand dryers that take only about a few seconds to dry one’s hands. At Dolphin, we have an extensive range of high-speed low-energy hand dryers that do not only dry your hands effectively but are likewise sustainably designed. They are built with top-grade airblades that use energy efficiently to dry hands quick and fast, ensuring no bacteria and other harmful microbes survive your 10-second hand-drying routine.
Hand sanitising is not the same as handwashing
While many think that skipping the sink altogether and getting a few pumps of hand sanitiser is safer after using the office washroom or any commercial washroom for that matter, it actually isn’t.
Studies have found that while alcohol-based sanitisers have been shown to work well on lightly soiled hands, correctly following the right steps of hand washing is still the best and most effective way to get rid of dirt, grime, and germs. Also, opt for those touchless sanitiser dispensers where you get your healthy spritz of alcohol or any sanitiser without having to touch any lever or handle. That should guarantee you not coming in contact with those harmful microbes that could cause health problems.
From touch-free taps to touchless soap dispensers, low-energy hand dryers and sensor sanitiser dispensers, among many others, Dolphin prides itself in its expansive selection of washroom solutions that are not only innovative in design and features but are sustainably made to eliminate any ill effects on the environment. Dolphin remains relentless in its aim to be the industry leader not only in revolutionary washroom innovations but in redefining excellence in washroom experience for every commercial washroom user there is across the world.
Talk to our Dolphin team today and discover the unlimited options you have in refurbishing your commercial washrooms to give your users nothing less than the finest washroom experience every time, all the time.