Many infectious diseases – from influenza to respiratory disease – are spread from one person to another through touch. That’s why washing your hands regularly is so important. Not only does good hand hygiene prevent you from getting sick, you’ll also minimize the risk of infecting others around you when you wash off harmful germs and bacteria.
When should you wash your hands?
Before we dive into the ways to improve hand hygiene at home, it’s important to understand when and how to wash your hands. You should wash hands:
- After using the toilet
- Before and after you prepare food
- Before and after eating
- After touching a doorknob
- After you pet or touch an animal
- After working in the garden
- Before and after visiting people in hospital
- After using a handkerchief
How to wash hands properly
It’s generally recommended to wash hands using a good liquid soap for at least 20 seconds. Liquid soaps may be easier to use at home because they create less of a mess, but bar soaps are equally effective in removing germs. A wide variety of suitable products for use at home can be found here. When washing your hands, don’t forget to wash the back of hands and your wrists. Make sure to get into every nook and cranny and under your fingernails so you can get rid of as much bacteria as possible. Drying your hands is just as important as washing them. If you’re wondering whether to use air dryers or hand towels to dry wet hands, towels made of fabric or paper are considered the more hygienic choice.
Teach your household about the importance of hand washing
If you share your home with multiple people or children, everyone should be on board with proper hand hygiene. The best way to get all members to wash their hands properly is by teaching them about good hand hygiene. This includes telling them about the reasons for washing their hands, when and how to wash them.
Hand washing may be difficult for small children. You can show your kids in a fun way how to lather hands with soap. Animal-shaped soaps are a more creative way to get kids to have fun while washing their hands. For more tips to make hand washing more kid-friendly, check out this post. If you need to remind some of the adults in your home to wash their hands more often, you could install a “Please wash your hands” sign above the toilet or on the door so they’re less likely to forget.
Get into the routine
Proper hand hygiene is all about developing a routine. It’s important to be consistent when you want to establish good habits. When you’re teaching young children how to get the hang of it, you could reward them for good hand-washing practices in the form of small treats or a sticker chart.