If you’ve ever used a public restroom, then you’ve seen the sign that says: “Employees must wash their hands before returning to work.” It seems a little upsetting that staff needs to be reminded of such a simple and important task. But is washing your hands really as simple as we all think?
According to a new study put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a whopping 97% of us don’t wash our hands correctly. Statistically, it’s likely you’re one of them. The researchers studied 383 people and put them into six different test kitchens throughout North Carolina. Each participant was asked to prepare turkey burgers and a chef’s salad. Prior to cooking, half of them watched a video on safety, which — according to Food & Wine — actually didn’t focus on the importance of hand-washing.
People! It's time to really wash your hands! pic.twitter.com/jTZuK0ksdu— Damon Lane (@KOCOdamonlane) December 21, 2018
While the participants prepared food, there were plenty of hand-washing moments they were skipping out on. Even the group that watched the video washed their hands correctly only 2% of the time. It seems like the step in which a lot of people go wrong is with soap.
At a restaurant? Wash your hands after ordering. The menu is generally the dirtiest thing you can touch!— Facts In Your Face (@FactsInYourFace) December 17, 2018
I was thinking about this like what if the person who didn't wash their hands opened the door with the clean hand door pic.twitter.com/Fz6TpPSmXU— Andre (@godsdullgun) December 15, 2018
Sometimes I’ll wash my hands for a rly long time because it’s like a long hot shower for them. They deserve it— Amy Solomon (@amybethsol) December 14, 2018
No, but really. Wash your hands. With soap. pic.twitter.com/ZGDZ26QLSM— mike geyser ⟨ 🐘 ⁄ ⟩ (@mikegeyser) December 14, 2018
Me: *forgets to wash hands once* Germs: pic.twitter.com/EOVU4dv0RF— rose 🏴 (@archivecryptic) December 12, 2018
The study recognized that one of the most common mistakes the participants made was not lathering on the soap for 20 seconds. If you have trouble keeping track, it’s recommend that you hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice, from start to finish. And no speeding it up, either. Proper time spent is important when washing your hands.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that washing your hands is important before, during, and after food prep. They also suggest washing before you start eating your meal.
You might think it’s a little ridiculous, but the study proved that 48% of participants in the study’s control group contaminated spices simply by washing their hands incorrectly. And it’s not like they failed to wash them all together — their technique was just incorrect. It almost makes you afraid to go out to eat.
Tis the season to stop the spread of germs and viruses, please encourage your child to wash their hands regularly and to use hand sanitizer. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy. pic.twitter.com/450V9CEQ6R— ETBoothMS (@ETBoothMS) December 12, 2018
Learn the right way to wash your hands to #PrepYourHealth & protect holiday guests from germs. Remember these 5 simple & effective steps: Wet. Lather. Scrub. Rinse. Dry. Learn more: https://t.co/ihlv1vHvUK #diyFriday #HealthyHolidays pic.twitter.com/YGYnoiBIjM— CDC Emergency (@CDCemergency) December 21, 2018
Encouraging children to wash their hands thoroughly can be a struggle - why not try this handy song? It's the simplest way to avoid them picking up and spreading infections and viruses. Teach them to protect their health. #selfcare #handhygiene #ImproveIPC https://t.co/pWuEENHmlm https://t.co/X3jB5LngC4— North East Lincolnshire Health and Care (@NEL_HCP) December 21, 2018
So, what can you to prevent the spread of bacteria? Just make sure you and your family are practicing perfect handwashing protocol. Pretty soon, the 20 second rule will just become part of your typical routine.