By now we have all heard about the importance of handwashing, but it bears repeating, especially if we are traveling or will be around lots of people over the holiday. Eighty percent of communicable diseases are transferred by touch, such as shaking hands or touching our faces.

Most bacteria hide under our fingernails or in damp towels, so it is crucial to scrub underneath our nails and use clean or disposable towels. Research shows that damp hands are 1,000 times more likely to spread bacteria, yet only 20% of people dry their hands after washing. 


The type of soap and water temperature doesn’t affect the number of germs removed. The germs are actually removed from the act of lathering because it forms pockets that trap contaminants from your hands.

Scrubbing for fifteen seconds is the minimum recommendation, but thirty seconds is ideal. Sing the happy birthday song twice or do the alphabet (in your head, of course!). And don’t forget to wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing happy birthday twice.  Some experts say to also wash the area around your mouth and nose.  These simple steps can help to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.  This holiday we want to spread joy, not germs, with proper hygiene.

Here’s how to wash your hands properly in five simple steps. Click here for a video visual.

  1. Wet hands with clean water at any temperature.
  2. Apply and lather the soap to all areas of your hands in circular and interlacing motions. Remember underneath the nails too.
  3. Scrub for at least 15 seconds minimum, but 30 seconds is ideal.
  4. Rinse your hands in clean water and dry them with a clean or disposable towel.
  5. Use a towel to turn off the faucet and open the door of public bathrooms.

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