Gesture of a woman hand washing her hands on step 1 on grey background

Fatigue is a natural reaction, so it wasn’t surprising to see initially-improved handwashing habits diminish as the pandemic wore on. As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to announce itself across the United States and the beginning of the school year approaches fast for many district, now is a better time than ever to present a quick handwashing refresher to staff, students and fellow custodial staff alike to keep the environment as safe as possible. 

While handwashing is straightforward in many regards, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines several details that can make a big difference for infection control.

Use clean, running water (warm or cold), and turn off the tap when applying soap

By turning the water back off when applying soap, the user eliminates the risk off of exposing their hands in a basin of contaminated water from the previous hand washer. No direct link exists between water temperature and microbe removal, but hotter water can lead to skin irritation.

Rub hands together with soap. Don’t forget between your fingers and under fingernails

The scrubbing motion creates the necessarily friction to remove microbes and dirt from your hands. Nails can be an unintentional hotbed for pathogens, so be sure to pay extra attention to them if you have longer fingernails. 

Hum the “Happy Birthday” Song Twice For Ideal Handwashing Duration

This process will end up at around 20 seconds, which is the nearly-universally agreed minimum for eradicating pathogens from hands in scientific studies. 

Use a clean towel or air dryer to dry hands

An underrated part of the handwashing process, all the goodwill done from following other handwashing steps correctly can be undone if an unsanitary rag, towel, or shirt is used to dry the hands after the process.