Are You Washing Your Hands Correctly? 6 Mistakes You Might Be Making


Jade Poole from I Write Words

Are You Washing Your Hands

Common mistakes most people make when washing their hands. We’re all hypersensitive to being clean right now. Fussing over the alcohol percentage in our hand sanitizer, trying to find decent medical-grade gloves and most importantly - washing our hands. But are you doing this correctly?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), washing your hands is the best way to avoid contracting the coronavirus. A simple task that many didn’t realise was so vitally important. Hand-washing is one vital step that you have control over to ensure you don’t contract the virus.  You should also ensure you are social distancing, wearing a face mask and cleaning popular surfaces as often as possible.

Even if you follow all instructions and try your best to avoid the coronavirus, you might still find yourself with mild symptoms. Here’s what to do if that’s the case. 

Washing your hands - something you were taught to do at a very young age so how difficult can it really be? Well, it might not be difficult to do but some of us might find it difficult to get it right (don’t worry, if this is you - you aren’t alone). You may not even realise it but there are certain mistakes you could be making that’s sabotaging your hand-washing. But first, why is it SO important to keep your hands clean?

Why you should wash your hands

Respiratory viruses like the coronavirus (COVID-19) and even the common cold spread when mucus or droplets containing the virus get into your body through your eyes, nose or throat. Most often, the mucus is spread with your hands. Hands are also one of the most common ways that the virus spreads from one person to the next. By washing your hands, you will limit the spread of the disease.

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of a virus.

Easy enough so let’s make sure you’re washing your hands properly.

6 Common hand-washing mistakes

1.   You aren’t washing your hands often enough

Whether you realise it or not, you are touching hundreds of objects and surfaces a day.

All-day long, there are countless touchpoints where your hands and fingers could be exposed to various germs. Once on your fingers, the microbes can transfer to your body easily if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Washing your hands is the best way to lift and rinse them away.

Tip: Hand sanitiser is a good option when soap and water aren’t convenient, but it won’t clean as well.

Make sure you wash your hands:

  1. After being in a public place where you might have touched items like a trolley, countertops, or door handles
  2. After coughing or sneezing
  3. Before touching your face especially your eyes, nose, mouth
  4. Before and after eating food and prepping meals
  5. After going to the bathroom
  6. After touching your pet or handling their food and waste
  7. After handling the trash

2.   You need more soap

Wet your hands with warm or cold water, and make sure you have enough soap (be extra generous). People tend to wash more thoroughly when they use soap. A R5 coin is a decent amount of liquid soap (you don’t need an antibacterial soap - that doesn’t add anything helpful). Lather up well to ensure you’re lifting all the dirt, grease, and microbes.

3.   You’re not scrubbing your entire hand

Don’t forget to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and especially under your nails. Make sure you get your thumbs too! Consider keeping your nails cut short to reduce the gunk that can get trapped under your nails (also less maintenance while you’re in quarantine).

4.   You don’t wash long enough

It’s not about a quick rub-a-dub-dub and rinse. You need to wash your hands for a decent amount of time.

This means you should scrub for about 20 seconds to get the germs off. Singing “Happy Birthday” twice is a good way to measure the time. Make it fun and come up with your own hand-washing song which is a great way to get your kids to wash their hands for long enough too. 

5.   You need to rinse your hands more thoroughly

After all the scrubbing, you need to rinse well with clear running water to remove all the stuff you lifted off your hands. Make sure to rinse off all the soap suds and dirt on your hands.

6.   You skip drying your hands

Germs transfer more easily to and from wet hands, so take the time to dry your hands with a clean towel. Make sure dry in between your fingers too. If you’re in a public place, paper towels are better than an electric dryer. When at home, make sure you are regularly washing your hand towels.

Did you think hand-washing was so intricate? It’s so easy if you just make sure you’re doing it properly. A simple way to save lives!


Yours in affordable and quality health insurance,

The Oneplan Team

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