- By Jason Howland
Mayo Clinic Minute: How to properly wash your hands
A 20-second way to prevent illness is to wash your hands properly. Knowing when and how to wash your hands will help you avoid sickness from the flu along with a number of diseases. It seems simple enough, but you'd be surprised to find out many people are washing their hands all wrong.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:00) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
Children often are taught at a young age to wash their hands – before eating and after using the restroom. It’s an easy and effective way to stay healthy and avoid spreading disease.
“People go to the bathroom, and they run their fingers under the water. Well, that does nothing. And then they grab the dirty faucet, and they touch the dirty handle on the way out of the bathroom.”
Dr. Poland says that, in public washrooms, there are often more bacteria on those faucets than in the toilet water.
Next time you’re at the sink, Dr. Poland says, "Wash your hands while singing 'Happy Birthday' to yourself. You get between the fingers, the fingertips, the thumb. You turn the water off with a paper towel. And you open the door to leave with a paper towel and dispose of the paper towel. That’s how you wash your hands – ideally with warm, soapy water.”
Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding along with guidelines and recommendations may have changed since the original publication date.
Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional updates on COVID-19. For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.