What’s the best way to wash hands?

According to CanWest News, Canadian government officials, based on internal documents, can’t agree on how long to scrub.

Correspondence between senior Ontario and federal bureaucrats obtained under an access to information request reveal disparities in hand washing advice, as discovered by an Ontario health official who surveyed government health websites looking for advice.

The inconsistencies prompted her to muse, "maybe we should have a National consensus meeting on how to wash your hands."

No need to file pondersome information requests. A google search reveals all kinds of differing advice  on how best to wash hands. We’ve come up with our own, but are constantly revising as more information becomes available.

The steps in proper handwashing, as concluded from the preponderance of available evidence, are:

• wet hands with water;
• use enough soap to build a good lather;
• scrub hands vigorously, creating friction and reaching all areas of the fingers and hands for at least 10 seconds to loosen pathogens on the fingers and hands;
• rinse hands with thorough amounts of water while continuing to rub hands; and,
• dry hands with paper towel.

Water temperature is not a critical factor — water hot enough to kill dangerous bacteria and viruses would scald hands — so use whatever is comfortable.

The friction from rubbing hands with paper towels helps remove additional bacteria and viruses.

Next time you visit a bathroom that is missing soap, water or paper towels, let someone in charge know. And next time you see someone skip out on the suds in the bathroom, look at them and say, “Dude, wash your hands!”