8 Facts That Will Change The Way You Think About Handwashing by Mike Parsons

Photo by Christine Sandu on Unsplash

Before the pandemic, we thought that in the 21st century, hardly anyone needs to be taught how to properly wash their hands and observe hygiene at certain times. But as you can see from the persistent recommendations of the World Health Organisation, not every inhabitant of our planet knows this elementary thing. If so, here are a few things that will change the way you think about handwashing.

1.The bathroom faucet is not cleaner than a toilet

Usually, people are only disgusted with the toilet and immediately run to wash their hands after using the toilet. They turn on the water and wash their hands with relief, thinking that they are now clean. But according to a study by the independent international health organisation, bathroom faucets or taps are the sixth most germ-contaminated items in the home. In 27% of all American homes participating in the study, there were found yeast, mould, staphylococcus aureus, as well as a group of bacteria that cause infections on the taps. In terms of the number and variety of microorganisms, the faucet in the bathroom roughly matches the toilet seat. And we’re not talking about taps in public toilets. Therefore, you should regularly wash the tap with cleaning agents. And if you are in a public toilet, then turn off the tap after washing your hands with a paper towel.

2.It is not enough to wash your hands only after using the toilet

And this applies not only to the current situation with the coronavirus but also to normal times. It is recommended to wash your hands before, during, and after cooking, after petting animals, their food or their waste, after touching the debris, before and after treating a wound.

3.Antibacterial soap is no better than the usual one

Advertising is trying to drive us into the idea that only antibacterial soap can destroy 99.9% of all microorganisms on the hands and thus maintain health. However, according to a study by the Department of Epidemiology of Michigan University, antibacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap. Moreover, this soap also helps harmful bacteria multiply. The study also found that bacteria are beginning to adapt to antibiotics because of the antibacterial soap.

4.Towels – a source of bacteria

A study from the University of Mauritius helped identify the source of pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli, on clean plates and cutlery. They turned out to be on kitchen towels that have been used without washing for more than a month. Experts recommend using paper napkins instead of cloth towels. And the best solution would be to use good quality hand dryers. Alternatively, wash your towels regularly and dry them in the fresh air.

5.Hot water is no better at killing germs than cold water

It seems that hot water (especially so much that it almost burns the skin) cleans hands much more effectively than cold water. But a Vanderbilt University study found that cold water when used with soap, cleanses skin as well as hot water. As for the effect of high temperature on bacteria, in order to destroy pathogens, you will need to keep your hands under running water, the temperature of which is above one hundred degrees. Doing this, of course, is not worth it if your hands are dear to you.

6.The automatic soap dispenser is not a guarantee of safety

It seems that an automatic soap dispenser is safer than a manual soap dispenser, let alone a simple bar of soap. But the study found that dispensers that are installed in public toilets and filled from a large bottle of liquid soap can lead to a 26-fold increase in the number of bacteria on the hands, compared to hermetically sealed containers.

7.Disinfectants don’t work well on dirty hands

Now, during a pandemic, many people are literally doused with antiseptics from head to toe and think that they are safe. But a study has shown that disinfectants are less effective when applied to heavily dirty or greasy hands. Therefore, before treating your hands with an antiseptic, first wash them with soap and water.

8.Not everyone washes their hands

This is a simple truth that many ignore. Studies show that at least fifteen percent of adults do not wash their hands after using the toilet. And do you think they walk with their hands at their seams for the rest of the day without touching anything? Hardly. They touch everything around and leave traces of the body’s vital activity. And if you are not afraid of bacteria, then at least think about the fact that without washing your hands before eating, after opening the door in the office, you risk swallowing some particles of faeces with your lunch.


Proper handwashing helps prevent many diseases, including coronavirus
If you have a choice – use a hand sanitiser or wash your hands – always choose the option to wash your hands. Stay clean and safe!

Mike is an Australian business consulting specialist. He’s working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business and marketing and is a regular contributor on several sites.