Why You Need to Wash Your Hands For at Least 20 Seconds

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Business Hygiene

As a person navigating the intricacies of life, keeping your hands clean and sanitized can save you from contracting illnesses that slow your work or home life down. When it comes to being the most effective at achieving fully clean hands, a lot of research has been done. A conclusion has come as a result of all the research is on the duration one should wash their hands. Most scientists seem to agree on the 20-seconds rule which entails that you lather soap on the hands for at least a count of 20 seconds. This ensures that the toxic particles on your hands can be properly washed away.

Why 20 Seconds?

Scientifically, dirt particles are attracted to rough surfaces. They tend to form a strong bond on your hands due to all the cracks and textures that exist on the human hand. With the 20-second time frame, you get ample time to scrub your hands, weakening the bond that the various particles have formed to your hands, that way you are able to wash them off with the flow of the water. Hand washing may seem like a super simple task, and it is, but there may be more steps required than you would think to wash your hands most effectively.

There are Five Steps to Washing your Hands:


1. Wet & Apply Soap

Wet both your hands with clean water and then apply soap.

2. Lather

Rub your palms, backs of your hands, under nails, and between fingers. The faster and more vigorously you lather the soap, the more effective it can be to dislodge particles from the surface of your hands.

3. 20 Seconds

Make sure to time yourself (20 seconds). This is about the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday to yourself two times.

4. Rinse

Rinse with running water. Make sure to alternate facing your palms and back of your hands beneath the direct flow of the faucet.

5. Dry

Dry your hands.

Familiarizing yourself and employees with these steps protects both your organization and its customers from diseases while also ensuring smooth operation of activities.

How Much Energy to Apply

When cleaning your hands, energy is required in breaking the dirt and bacteria bonds on your hands. Slow and gentle movements may not provide the required force hence putting yourself and business associates at risk. Force pushes all the particles to be in motion as they are being displaced and with the presence of soap, the particles get attached to the soap particles hence detaching them from your hands. If your business involves working with grease or sticky materials, you might require to apply more force as these tend to create stronger bonds. After attaching themselves to the soap particles, rinsing the soap with running water ensures that you are rid of the dirt and germs.

Why Use Soap?

Most soaps contain surfactants. These are compounding elements that trap dirt, germs, bacteria, and other substances on the surface of your hands. These compounds also neutralize microorganisms on our skin surfaces. They do this by opening virus particles up and condensing biological molecules in them making them suspended in the water mixture of soap and water as you scrub your hands. This enables them to be washed off your hands with the soap when you rinse your hands. Cool right?

Why Wash Your Hands While at Work

Research shows that a great number of germs are spread through the air, coughing, and from those around you (airborne and surface). Most of these germs can survive on surfaces for hours meaning that spreading and contracting them is very easy. As you go around touching things at your workplace, you come in contact with a lot of bacteria. That is why regular washing of hands is advised if you would like to refrain from getting sick or spreading germs to others around you. Especially if your business deals with food, a heightened level of hygiene is necessary from you because you are putting a lot of people’s lives on the line when handling things that people are going to ingest.

Importance of Washing Hands

With the outbreak of Covid-19, a lot of institutions ended up losing vital employees to the virus. One of the most important ways to protect yourself from it is by washing your hands regularly and efficiently. Providing all the necessary materials for employees and customers is absolutely essential to help stop the spread of the virus.


Efficient washing of hands not only protects you but also all those around you as you are carrying out activities and tasks throughout the day. Life is hard enough, and making it unnecessarily more difficult by not having effective hygiene practices is a headache that can easily be avoided!

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