Hygiene. Cleaning Hands. Washing hands with soap

According to a study conducted by three doctors from The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University, 95 percent of people are, in fact, washing their hands incorrectly. That reality does not bode well considering 80 percent of infections are spread via hands.

The study analyzed handwashing compliance, shortcomings and gender differences in a college town environment. According to the research, "people generally overstate the degree to which they wash their hands; women are much more likely to wash their hands than men; and while handwashing compliance appears to have increased in recent years, much room for growth still exists."

Despite social pressures and awareness that proper handwashing will reduce foodborne illness outbreaks, reduce diarrheal disease and potentially save lives, a large portion of the general population still fails to wash up. The goal of this study was to determine ways to induce higher rates of compliance.

A few key findings:
 • Men need more encouragement than women to engage in proper handwashing behaviors, although most men and women do wash their hands using soap.
 • More men (35.1 percent) simply wet their hands when washing, compared to women (15.1 percent).
 • The presence of a hand hygiene sign influenced both handwashing behaviors and the length of washing time.
 • The type of faucet itself (standard faucet versus motion detection) did not impact handwashing behaviors.
 • Clean sinks promoted proper handwashing procedures, as well as increased the length of time people washed their hands.
 • Regarding time of day, handwashing showed to decrease as the evening progressed.
 • Less than 6 percent of those surveyed met the recommended handwashing duration.

Click here for the full study.