Parenting Tips /

Do you wash your hands correctly?

Do you know that the simple act of handwashing reduces the risk of getting a stomach bug by as much as 47%? Thus keeping hand clean is vitally important especially during this Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic.

World Hand Hygiene Day is declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) to encourage everyone to practice good hygiene and make handwashing part of their everyday life. This is because hand washing is one of the best ways to protect ourselves from getting sick.

We believe you already know the steps of washing hands effectively, today let’s explore other important guides to make regular hand washing a rule for everyone.

When should we wash our hands? [1]

  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After touching animals
  • After blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After attending school or daycare center
  • After playing outside
  • After spending time in public places (indoor play structures, shopping malls, grocery stores)

Which is better? Alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water? How about baby wipes? [1][2]

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. However, if soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Sanitizer can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands but may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. Hand sanitizers also do not get rid of all types of germs and harmful chemicals such as pesticides and heavy metals. If using hand sanitizer, make sure rub the gel over all the surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry, about 15 – 20 seconds.

Baby wipes may make your hands look clean, but they are not designed to remove germs from hands. Thus we recommend washing hands with soap and water when possible.

What are the good practices when drying our hands?

Your hands may be clean after washing with soap and water, but also take these precautions when drying them.

  • Do use disposable towels and hand dryers in public washrooms
  • Do not use a common hand towel or single damp cloth
  • Do clean and change the common hand towel with detergent daily because germs thrive on moist surfaces
  • Do use hand dryers wherever possible in public washrooms. Help save the earth by reducing or avoiding the usage of disposable towels!

Remember to make handwashing a healthy habit at home, at school, and at play!

[1] When and How to Wash Your Hands. (2020, April 2).
[2] Handwashing: A Family Activity. (2020, April 23).