- October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, which aims to teach people how washing your hands can reduce the spread of germs.
- According to the USDA, 97 percent of Americans don’t wash their hands properly.
- The majority of people don’t wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds.
You probably think you know how to wash your hands, since you do it — hopefully — multiple times a day. But it turns out, 97 percent of Americans wash incorrectly, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
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The USDA found that when it comes to hand washing, people make two common mistakes: not washing long enough, and drying their hands on a dirty towel. Gross.
In honor of Global Handwashing Day, created to raise awareness about how the habit can reduce the spread of germs, disease, and illness (like the flu) here’s a quick how-to on proper hand washing, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Wet hands with clean water.
- Rub hands together to create a lather. Be sure to lather the back of your hands and between your fingers. Don’t forget to clean under your nails as bacteria like E. coli can hide in the crevices.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, which is like singing the happy birthday song twice.
- Rinse your hands with clean water.
- Dry hands on a clean towel, which means it’s been used no more than three times before getting tossed in the hamper.
Chances are, you’re probably skimping out on how often you wash, too. The CDC recommends washing:
- Before, during and after touching food
- Before mealtime
- Before and after interacting with someone who is sick
- Before and after bandaging wounds
- Post sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
- After using the bathroom
- If you’ve changed diapers
- Whenever you’ve played with your pup or other animals
- After touching garbage
Aside from washing after going to the bathroom, the CDC advises giving a good scrub after handling meat and eggs.