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Only 5 Percent of Us Are Washing Our Hands Well Enough to Kill Germs

Posted by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 8:52 AM
  • 59 Replies

Only 5 Percent of Us Are Washing Our Hands Well Enough to Kill Germs

by Maressa Brown

handwashingIf you're already a germaphobe, I recommend you back aawwwaaay from this story, because it might just be too much to handle. But if you're not a germaphobe, this news may be enough to make you one. A recent study of more than 3,700 restroom patrons done by Michigan State University researchers drudged up some horrifying facts about our handwashing habits.

Apparently, only 5 percent of people who used the restroom scrubbed their hands long enough to kill infection-causing germs. Guuugh, how embarrassing! And wait, as if that wasn't enough, it gets WORSE!

33 percent didn't use soap, and 10 percent didn't wash their hands at all. Men were less likely than women to clean their hands, but when they did, only 50 percent used soap (compared to 78 percent of women)! Ugh, I believe it! You don't even want to know the horror stories my brother-in-law, who works in a mall, has told me about what he's witnessed in the public men's bathrooms there. In public men's bathrooms in RESTAURANTS there. Ew, ew, ewww!

Some more interesting but repulsive factoids: If the sink was dirty, it actually turned people OFF of washing their hands. (Wouldn't you feel more inclined to get in there and get clean if you'd just used a nasty restroom? Guess not! And people were more likely to wash their hands earlier in the day. (Because at night, maybe they were ...drunk and lazy? Ha.) And as it turns out, signs encouraging handwashing work -- making people more inclined to do so.

Granted, this was entirely observed in public restrooms in a college town, so these stats may not be representative of the general population.  Especially considering that previous research actually shows most people are, well, better at washing their hands properly ... But still, given that negligent handwashing is the culprit behind nearly 50 percent of all foodborne illness outbreaks according to the CDC, this study is troubling to say the least.

So, in case you needed a refresher course ... or just wanted to be sure you were doing it right: The study notes that you have to vigorously wash with SOAP and water for 15 to 20 seconds to effectively kill germs. 6 seconds (the average) isn't sufficient. But geeze, after reading this study, you'd have to wonder if doing anything beats nothing at all. Shudder.

Be honest: Do you wash your hands properly?

by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 8:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
starlight91
by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 8:54 AM
2 moms liked this

Yes I do, I was a CNA , we were taught to sing the Happy Birthday song twice during washing our hands.

x2monstersx
by Bronze Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Ugh soooo gross!!  I am already a borderline germaphobe.  I do wash my hands.  I work in the medical field so I have been taught.  

kysmama08
by Gold Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Idk how anyone can go to the bathroom and not wash their hands at all and it happens all the time. I'd consider myself a germaphobe lol. There's always hand sanitizer everywhere and soap in the bathroom and kitchen. It grosses me out when you're in a restaurant and you see a lady come out of the stall and just walk out. I don't even turn the water off without a paper towel lol

etsmom
by Ruby Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I usually do, unless the bathroom doesn't have soap. I carry a bottle of hand sanitizer on my key chain that I use when I get to my car. 

highlandmum
by Spunky on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:05 AM

 I sing Twinkle Twinkle little star twice.  So I think I am good.

Reading article like this makes me remember why I will not use public restrooms.

Quoting starlight91:

Yes I do, I was a CNA , we were taught to sing the Happy Birthday song twice during washing our hands.

 

fullxbusymom
by Ruby Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:08 AM

In public yes, before handling food yes.  Other than that nope can guarantee you I don't.  Don't wash them after changing diapers or a myriad of other things that I should. 

starlight91
by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Yes sound like youre good with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.lol I know just makes me remember why I stand there with my mouth moving and nothing coming out ( singing happy birthday twice) and people look at me like Im nuts , while they just quickly run their hands under the water.

Quoting highlandmum:

 I sing Twinkle Twinkle little star twice.  So I think I am good.

Reading article like this makes me remember why I will not use public restrooms.

Quoting starlight91:

Yes I do, I was a CNA , we were taught to sing the Happy Birthday song twice during washing our hands.

 


Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:23 AM

I'm a cafeteria manage and we are taught how to wash our hands. I won't open the door at a public bathroom I see women and children all the time go out of there without washing their hands I use a paper towel always or a napkin open the door.

I know men don't for the most oart.

squocket
by Bronze Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM
6 moms liked this

Well, good thing not everyone is terrified of microbes. We are already trashing our immune systems and building super-bacteria enough as it is.

la_bella_vita
by Bella on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:43 AM

 Yes, I do

I'm just wee bit of a germaphobe, I've gotten better since having kids though, lol

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