Stop! Did You Wash Your Hands?
23 March 2020
It’s never been more important to wash your hands properly. Are you doing it right?
We all know how to wash our hands, right? Well, it turns out the majority of us actually haven’t been doing it properly (me included, this is a judgment-free zone). To make sure we’re all doing everything we can to protect those who need it most, here’s the low-down on proper hand-washing, including a few tips to make the whole thing a little more enjoyable.
To properly wash your hands, you need warm water, soap, and something to dry them afterwards. Simple enough? Well, these three little things can make all the difference to handwashing technique, especially if you’re getting one of them wrong.
Many of us are guilty of not letting the water warm up enough before handwashing, and to adequately clean our hands, the temperature needs to be at least 38℃. Now, we’re not expecting everyone to start whipping out their thermometers, so to give you an idea of what 38℃ feels like, it should be warmer than body temperature. Think about how warm someone with a fever feels to the touch, that’s how warm the water should be, at least.
Water alone isn’t enough to prevent viruses from spreading, which is where hand soap comes in, but here’s the thing… any soap will do, it doesn’t need to be anti-bacterial. Why? Well, antibacterial soaps are designed to kill bacteria, not viruses. The weakest part of a virus is its lipid bilayer, which is a fatty membrane that holds all the other bits together. Regular soap dissolves the fatty lipid layer, and so the virus essentially collapses and gets washed down the drain. So, by all means, use antibacterial soap if you want to, but it isn’t at all necessary for virus prevention. You can also choose between soap bars and liquid soap, but liquid soap does slightly reduce the risk of recontamination.
That being said, we’re all going to be doing a lot of handwashing over the next few months, so quality does count. Choose a soap that moisturises while it cleans, and look for scents that will make you actually look forward to washing your hands. Our current favourites are the new Neom Organics Scent To Make You Happy and L’Occitane Shea Butter Lavender Liquid Soap.
Ideally, we’d all have a handy dryer to blast water off our hands, but the next best thing is a clean dry cloth. This should be changed out for a clean one daily, but if you have multiple people living at home or find the cloth is getting damp, change it more regularly. It’s also worth noting that anyone in the house who is in isolation should be using their own hand towel if a second bathroom isn’t available.
And don’t forget…
All that washing will be making your skin more likely to dry out. Replenish your skin’s moisture barrier by following up with a quality hand lotion. We love Molton Brown and Neal’s Yard Remedies, and in particular the Molton Brown Mulberry and Thyme Hand Lotion.
Cleaning your hands is all about having the right technique, ensuring that any bacteria or viruses are removed from your skin. Here’s the step-by-step process:
Step 1. Wet hands with water and apply enough soap to cover hands (usually around two pumps).
Step 2. Rub palms together to lather.
Step 3. Rub back of each hand with your palm, interlacing fingers.
Step 4. Rub palm to palm again, this time interlacing fingers.
Step 5. Rub back of fingers to opposing palms, interlocking fingers.
Step 6. Rub each thumb by twisting it in the opposing fist.
Step 7. Rubs tips of fingers in the opposing palm.
Step 8. Rub each wrist with the opposite hand.
Step 9. Rinse.
Step 10. Turn off the tap with your elbow.
Step 11. Dry hands thoroughly.
The whole process should take at least 20 seconds when done correctly. Children are being taught to sing “Happy Birthday” twice through while hand washing, but here are a few suggestions you might prefer to try:
Dolly Parton – Jolene
“Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene/ I’m begging of you please don’t take my man/ Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene/ Please don’t take him just because you can”.
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
“Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon/ You come and go, you come and go/ Loving would be easy if your colours were like my dreams/ Red, gold and green, red, gold and green”.
Toto – Africa
“It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you/ There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do/ I bless the rains down in Africa/ Gonna take some time to do the things we never had”.
Or, if you’d like to sing something a little more on-the-nose, go with one of these classics:
• Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me
• Britney Spears – Toxic
• Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive
• MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This
Along with social distancing, washing your hands is the best way to keep yourself, and everyone around you, safe right now. Be vigilant and stay positive, folks. Shop all of our essentials here.