Proper Hand Washing Time & Other Hand Hygiene Tips
We get down to basics about how to wash your hands properly.
What is the proper hand washing time?
If there’s one thing we’ve done more of in the last year than ever before in our lives, it’s wash our hands. Hand washing is a simple hygiene practice we’ve been taught since we were young children, yet its importance was never made clearer than it was in 2020.
The World Health Organization created a comprehensive resource here that well applies to all of us as we navigate challenging times like those created by the pandemic over the last 12 months. According to WHO, proper hand washing should take anywhere from about 40-60 seconds, and includes ensuring that all areas of the hand surface have been thoroughly washed, including the backs of the hands and fingers.
Another important resource when it comes to proper hand washing time is the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, who’ve provided a number of resources on their website to support everything from routine hand washing to using hand sanitizer in community settings. Some of the best tips they provide include:
- Regular hand washing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
- Washing your hands often, especially during key times when the likelihood of spreading germs is higher, such as before and after preparing food, eating food, using the bathroom, caring for someone who is sick, etc.
- Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. When washing your hands conventionally is not available to you, choose a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, as indicated on the product label.
Debunking myths about proper hand washing time
We want to ensure we are giving and receiving accurate information when it comes to hand washing protocols, which is why we rely on accredited organizations like the WHO and CDC for up-to-the-minute updates. Here are a few myths we want to bust when it comes to information on hand washing:
Myth #1: Regular soap and water isn't enough; you need a special kind of soap
According to the CDC, to date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers (this does not include professionals in the healthcare setting) using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap.
Myth #2: A quick splash of water is all you need
In the same article, the CDC says that using soap to wash hands is more effective than using water alone because the surfactants in soap lift soil and microbes from skin, and people tend to scrub hands more thoroughly when using soap, which further removes germs. The best rule of thumb is to thoroughly wash and scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water every time you wash.
Myth #3: Hand sanitizer is better than soap and water
Finally, the CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
Proper hand washing time & the ingredients we formulate our soaps without
At Saje, we know that our Community cares about products that are formulated to keep them and their loved ones safe and healthy, which is why we are so fond of the options we offer for use in your home. Before we talk about the products themselves, we want to touch on two key ingredients that we formulate our soaps without, and how this plays a role in supporting your wellness overall.
The first ingredient is alcohol. We know that as an ingredient in hand soap, alcohol can be both drying and irritating. Some of the side effects of alcohol’s inclusion in hand soap can include not only dehydrating your skin, but also causing redness or itching. Knowing how important alcohol is as an ingredient in hand sanitizer, we suggest skipping it as an ingredient in your hand soap. Hand sanitizer is an effective alternative when hand washing is not available, but overexposing our hands to alcohol unnecessarily can be extra drying in the long run.
The second ingredient we formulated all of our hand soaps without is artificial fragrance. Artificial fragrances are responsible for a whole host of undesirable effects on both our skin and our respiratory system. Fragrance found in many household cleaning products, personal care products, detergents and other items are derived from petrochemicals that can be harmful to human health. Many people have allergic or hyper-sensitivty reactions to fragrance chemicals which is why at Saje, we say “no” to anything that isn’t plant based and free of synthetic fragrances. You can rest easy knowing that all of the aromas in our products come from natural sources, the plants themselves, and have never been altered or enhanced artificially.
Using 100% natural soap & proper hand washing time
Our foaming hands soaps are made from a saponified coconut oil that is both richly nourishing and deeply moisturizing. Other skin-softening ingredients include saponified castor and sunflower oils. We then create beautifully scented blends of essential oils to support cleansed, freshened and deodorized skin. Check them out below:
Liquid Sunshine foaming hand soap: a bright and cheerful blend of zesty citrus essential oils like lime, orange and grapefruit
Lavender & Friends foaming hand soap: a relaxing and balancing blend of floral and herbal essential oils like lavender and rosemary
Tingle Mint foaming hand soap: an uplifting and tingly blend of minty and herbal essential oils like peppermint, spearmint and tea tree
Clean Hands foaming hand soap: a cleansing and deodorizing blend of herbal and camphorous essential oils like pine, tea tree and thyme
Proper hand washing time: other tips to keep hands healthy
Some of the other important considerations in keeping your hands healthy amidst all the extra hand washing is protecting your skin’s delicate layers by ensuring you are moisturizing regularly. Many of us consider moisturizing as more of an aesthetic habit, but the truth is it’s a vital part of keeping our skin healthy. The skin on our body is our largest organ, and our hands are actually some of the most vulnerable tissue we have; they are in almost constant exposure or contact with potential irritants like the elements and frequent hand washing. Give your hands a treat this year by investing in high quality, plant-based ingredients that can support your hands in feeling hydrated and cared for. Some of our favorite moisturizers are below:
Healing Hands lotion: this lotion was formulated to be low scent, including only small amounts of essential oils known to be gentle and non-irritating to even the most sensitive skin, like lavender, and geranium. A nourishing base of aloe vera juice and safflower seed oil are extra protective against dryness and irritation.
Clean Hands lotion: patchouli, lavender and tea tree, all renowned in aromatherapy to help calm and soothe symptoms related to minor skin inflammations, are paired alongside a gentle but powerful base of grapeseed oil, sunflower seed oil and shea nut oil for an extra nourishing and cleansing hydrator any time your hands need a little extra TLC.
Lavender & Friends lotion: if you’re looking for a lotion that is gentle, calming and soothing for both the skin and the mind, this blend of balancing lavender, geranium and clary sage is also formulated with aloe vera leaf juice, mango seed oil and grapeseed and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Why proper hand washing time matters
Washing your hands correctly, and for the correct amount of time is important in helping to stop the spread of germs wherever possible. According to the CDC, clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
They recommend to follow these five steps every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Taking the time to ensure you’re washing your hands properly is worth the investment in your health, every time you suds up at the sink!