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How to Wash Your Hands

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You've probably heard this more than once: "Wash your hands—and use lots of soap and hot water!"

As it turns out, washing your hands properly is one very simple way to keep yourself healthy. Here are tips to do it right, as recommended by Dr. Lamont Sweet, Deputy Chief Health Officer for the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island:

  • To wash your hands, you need lots of regular soap and lots of water.
  • The temperature of the water is not important, despite common belief. It has no effect on a good scrub's germ-fighting abilities.
  • Allow for two minutes (or, at the very least, 20 seconds of rigorous scrub time after lathering, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • Put effort into scrubbing not only palms and fingers, but also the backs of hands and the skin between the fingers where germs can continue to reside.

Specifically, ensure a good cleansing at these times to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. . .

  • Before and after your hands are near your face.
  • Before eating and cooking.
  • After using the bathroom, blowing your nose, and sneezing into a hand.
  • After changing diapers.
  • After handling any kind of meat or garbage.
  • After touching animals or cleaning up after them.

And here's an economic solution. Use boiled potatoes to cleanse hands. They work as well as common soap and keep the skin soft and healthy.

If you have other tips or ideas, please share! Just submit your comments in the box below.

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I have never heard of using a

By Emmett

I have never heard of using a boiled potato as soap and cannot find anything else like that on the internet. Was that a joke?

This is one of many old-time

By Almanac Staff

This is one of many old-time (and we admit, sometimes wacky) remedies found in our archives. The Almanac began in 1792, so a lot of the old tips seem strange today.

Germs don't make you sick.

By relmo

Germs don't make you sick. They are everywhere all the time. When your immune system is compromised, germs can get the upper hand inside. You can wash your hands till the cows come home and it won't do any good. You need to maintain a strong immune system.

Here's my additional

By charlene stewart

Here's my additional suggestion: don't forget your wrists. Wash farther up than just your hands, so as to clean the wrist areas, too. Those areas can easily harbor germs from your blouse or shirt sleeves, or from bracelets.

After turning the faucet off

By Jeff Conestogaman

After turning the faucet off with the paper towel, use it to open the restroom door, especially if it has a doorknob or handle that must be pulled inward. lots of germs there left behind from no-wash bathroom visitors...

Before you wash your hands in

By Jeffery Haws

Before you wash your hands in a restroom with a manually advanced paper towel dispenser, get the amount of paper you want first. That way you don't touch any other thing than clean paper after you have washed your hands, that you can use to turn off the faucet.

A couple more facts just as

By Robin Bourgeous

A couple more facts just as important as water, soap and scrubbing time: The faucet is contaminated when it is turned on with dirty hands. When finished washing hands, do not touch the faucet directly to turn it off or your hands will be dirty again. After you've dried your hands, use the towel to turn off the water and put the towel in the laundry, or rubbish if it is disposable.

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