Hand Wash Dos and Don’ts: Are You Making These Common Mistakes?

Hand Wash Dos and Don’ts: Are You Making These Common Mistakes?
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Hand washing is one of the handiest approaches to save you germs. It allows you to remove dust, bacteria, and viruses from your arms, reducing the threat of infection and contamination. Proper hand hygiene is particularly crucial before and after preparing meals, after using the restroom, after touching surfaces in public locations, and after coughing or sneezing. Proper hand hygiene is vital in a cutting-edge, rapid-paced world. With the unfolding of viruses and bacteria, knowing the dos and don’ts of washing your hands is critical to keeping yourself and those around you secure and healthy. Let’s delve into the high-quality practices for washing your hands to ensure you are no longer making any usual errors that might compromise your health.

What is the Science Behind Hand Washing?

Knowing the science underlying hand washing can emphasize the significance of this straightforward but effective behavior. When you wash your hands with soap and water, you remove invisible germs like bacteria and viruses in addition to apparent filth. 

To combat these viruses, soap dissolves their lipid (fat)–based outer coat. As a result of this structural disruption, they become more easily removed by water. The friction produced while rubbing your hands together further assists in the elimination of germs from the skin.

Water is essential for rinsing, as it carries away broken-down pathogens and any remaining dirt and soap residue. The combination of soap, water, and friction makes hand washing such an effective method for removing germs from the hands.

Common Hand-Washing Mistakes to Avoid 

One of the most common mistakes people make is not washing their hands for long enough. As mentioned earlier, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds is recommended to ensure thorough cleaning. Unfortunately, many people only wash their hands in a few seconds, which may not be sufficient to remove all germs. 2. 

Another common mistake is skipping critical areas of the hands when washing. It’s essential to pay attention to all surfaces, including the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails. These areas are often overlooked but can harbor germs if not properly cleaned. 

After washing your hands, proper drying is essential to prevent the spread of germs. Wet hands are more likely to transfer bacteria and viruses than dry hands, so be sure to dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel or air dryer. 

What are Some Dos of Hand Washing?

Use Soap and Water 

When washing your hands, use soap and water. Soap lifts dirt and germs from the skin, while water rinses them away. Be sure to lather your hands thoroughly, covering all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. 

Wash for at least 20 Seconds 

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This ensures you have enough time to remove germs from your hands effectively. You can use the “Happy Birthday” song sung twice as a timer to ensure you’re washing for the recommended time. 

Dry with a Clean Towel or Air Dryer 

Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer. Damp hands are more likely to spread germs, so ensuring your hands are completely dry after washing is essential.

What are some Don’ts of Hand Washing? 

Don’t Use Hot Water 

Contrary to popular belief, hot water is unnecessary for effective hand washing. In fact, using too hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Instead, use lukewarm water for a comfortable hand-washing experience. 

Don’t Rely Solely on Hand Sanitizer 

While hand sanitizer can be a convenient option when soap and water are not available, it should not replace regular washing of hands. Hand sanitizer is less effective at removing dirt and organic material from the skin, so washing with soap and water is essential whenever possible. 

Don’t Touch Surfaces Immediately After Washing 

After washing your hands, avoid touching surfaces contaminated with germs. This includes doorknobs, faucets, and other high-touch surfaces. Use a paper towel or your elbow to open doors and turn off faucets to minimize the risk of recontamination. 

What are the Effective Tips for Handwashing? 

Hand sanitizer can be used as an alternative when soap and water are unavailable. For optimal effectiveness, look for an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Apply enough to cover all surfaces of your hands, rubbing them together until dry. 

Instilling good handwashing habits in children from a young age is essential for promoting lifelong hygiene practices. Teach them the proper technique, emphasizing the importance of using soap, washing for an adequate duration, and covering all surfaces of the hands.

How Hand Washing plays a Role in Disease Prevention? 

Hand washing plays a critical role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Proper hand hygiene is essential for reducing the transmission of pathogens between patients, healthcare workers, and the community in healthcare settings. However, hand washing is also important in hospitals and crucial in everyday settings to prevent the spread of common illnesses like colds, flu, and gastrointestinal infections. 

Studies have shown that regular washing of hands can significantly reduce the risk of illness. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that regular washing of your hands with soap and water reduced the incidence of respiratory infections by up to 45%. Similarly, another study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases found that hand hygiene interventions could reduce the spread of gastrointestinal infections by up to 31%.

Though hand washing with soap and water is highly effective, using quality products can further enhance its benefits. Brands like Bliss Natural, Himalaya, Sterlomax, IMC, and Just Herbs offer high-quality herbal hand sanitizers formulated to cleanse and protect the skin while effectively eliminating germs and bacteria.

Hand Washing While Traveling and while in Public Places

Traveling exposes individuals to germs and pathogens, making hand hygiene especially important. When traveling, washing your hands frequently is essential, especially before eating or touching your face. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

Public places like restaurants, airports, and shopping centers can be hotbeds for germs. When in public places, be mindful of touching surfaces that may be contaminated, such as doorknobs, handrails, and elevator buttons. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching these surfaces, or use hand sanitizer if washing facilities are unavailable.


Hand washing is a critical component of good hygiene and public health, but its environmental impact must be considered. By practicing sustainable hand hygiene and incorporating eco-friendly practices into your routine, you can help reduce water usage, minimize waste, and mitigate the ecological consequences of washing your hands.

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