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9 steps to washing your hands to remove viruses and bacteria

Harry Wood

The World Health Organization says that the most important action we can take during the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic is to wash hands frequently to remove any viruses that may be on them. Washing hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of illnesses in hospitals, care homes, offices, schools, food-handling businesses and the home. It’s estimated that 80% of communicable diseases are transferred between people by touch.

Most people don’t wash their hands effectively. Around 50% of men and 22% of women don’t use soap and, even then, most people only wash the palms of their hands. In addition, right-handed people tend to use the right hand to wash the left hand more thoroughly and vice versa.

Why wash your hands

You use your hands to eat, touch, hold and carry things, clean, to scratch and wipe your own body or to greet other people. Hands are the part of the body that’s most exposed to germs and substances in the environment and areas shared with other people such as offices, schools, hospitals, shopping centres and public transport. Poor hand hygiene can quickly spread germs around these shared spaces via common touchpoints, such as door handles, shopping trolleys and baskets, cash points/ATMs and payment terminals, stair rails, kettles, and grab handles on trains and buses.

Steps to effective handwashing

The hygienic washroom

A hygienic washroom is essential to minimise the risk of contamination spreading through a facility. Washrooms should include solutions for hand hygiene, cubicle hygiene, air care and waste management. In high footfall areas smart hygiene solutions for cubicles and handwashing improve customer experience and reduce consumable waste and maintenance. 

handwashing solutions

 

Harry Wood
Harry Wood

I am a Content Communications Editor at Rentokil Initial, writing content for all our marketing activities on topics as diverse as pest control, pest-borne diseases, food safety, climate change, wellbeing, hygiene and airborne diseases. I've been an editor and writer for over 30 years in academic and business roles. I started life in the Forestry Commission, moved into tropical forestry and environment in Thailand before migrating to the world of healthcare IT and medical technology back in the UK. My role at Rentokil Initial has given me the chance to return to some of my roots when writing about wood-boring insect pests ... or is that boring Wood writing about insect pests?

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