Hand washing is something that I have always been passionate about. With the pandemic, that passion only grew stronger. Today I am sharing some simple tips to keep your hands clean while you are out and about and also some cool survey results from the national Healthy Hand Washing Survey!
Disclosure: I am partnering with Bradley Corp. All opinions are my own.
Clean All the Things
Last year I wrote this post on hand washing that people seriously loved. It came out before the pandemic, there were glowing hands and a fun little experiment that would be easy for families to replicate (you should still do this, it is awesome). Then COVID hit and hand washing was at the forefront of combat. As a science teacher hand washing has always been a focus and I am also super clean, so I constantly wipe down surfaces and clean all the things.
As we have spent nearly a year in this pandemic, cleaning, disinfecting and making sure that we are washing our hands has become second nature. I notice that my children now just get in the car and use hand sanitizer and then when we get home they immediately go wash their hands. I see this in the classroom too and I think that the best part of this pandemic is that I do not have to tell my kids to wash their hands a million times. They get it, they do it and it rocks!
Tips to Keep Hands Clean
It is difficult not to venture to the stores for necessities or to the gas station and many of us are still going into buildings to work. We are sending our kids to school and we are all doing our best to protect everyone around us. I see far more people taking the precautions and I honestly love that surfaces in stores and schools are cleaner. Believe me, I understand microflora and the importance of our own little microbe biome, but I do not need other people’s microbes invading my body. I thought I would share some tips to keep hands clean while out and about for families.
- Hand Sanitizer: Yes, we know this one, there was a massive run on this at the beginning of the pandemic. What most people do not realize is that you need to leave it on the hand for at least 30 seconds (aka, rub it in let it dry) and that it should be 70% or higher in alcohol concentration. Making your own hand sanitizer is actually not the safest as it can cause chemical burns in the wrong concentrations. I see many people get hand sanitizer in stores and then wipe their hands on their clothing to remove the “wet” feeling. Time matters, leave it for 30 seconds.
- Wash Them Hands: By far the most effective way to keep your hands clean is by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds before eating or drinking, after using a restroom and after touching your face for any reason (coughs, sneezes, etc). One thing to note is that using simple soap that is not antibacterial is actually better for your microflora as you can kill off your body’s natural microbes with overuse of antibacterials. Read those labels and grab that simple soap, it will break apart the viruses and send it down the drain.
- Disinfecting Wipes: Wiping down surfaces you are going to touch can really help keep those hands clean. Again, you want to wipe the area and let it sit and dry. Most stores are now disinfecting carts for us and they are dry by the time we touch them, however, you can also do this and that will help keep your hands clean, just grab your cart and a wipe and clean it right off. Then all you need to do is let it dry and get to going. By keeping our touch surfaces clean we also keep our hands clean. I also make sure that I wipe gas pumps, credit cards, car handles and anything else that we frequently touch.
- Use Clean Towels: After cleansing your hands, use a paper towel to thoroughly dry your hands and to open doors to protect those freshly cleaned hands.
- Go in With a List: I always tell myself to only touch what I must. I have mostly kept our kids out of the stores for this very reason. Kids touch everything and as adults we also want to feel things before we buy. Look, I get it, however, if we can make sure that we are doing our best to limit what we touch we will also limit our interaction with other people’s microflora (bacteria and viruses alike). I make a list when I go to the store now, I get in and I get out and I do my best to only touch what I am going to buy.
Healthy Handwashing Survey
Bradley Corp-an international restroom equipment manufacturer- has once again released their Healthy Handwashing Survey this year and the data is very interesting to look at. From data comparing the pre-covid trends to a comparison of hand sanitizer vs soap and water. They covered it all and you can read more about the results here.
The infographic above took me by surprise. It was interesting to me to see that at the start of the pandemic people quickly shifted to washing their hands between 6-15 times a day and then as the pandemic wore on, people are starting to go back to a time where they are not washing their hands as much. I do wonder if we will continue to see that trend slip to pre-COVID times.
As a germaphobe, I was happy to see that people have increased their hand washing habits since the pandemic started! I also was super interested to see the data on people’s opinions on sanitizer vs washed hands. People in general agree that sanitized hands are more germy than washed hands and the split between males and females was stark!