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When to Use Hand Washing Over Hand Sanitizer

When it comes to killing germs, there is much debate over whether hand sanitizer or soap and water is the most effective hand hygiene method. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing hands with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses, no matter where you are. Find out why hand washing wins out over sanitizers with help from ServiceMaster Clean.

Why Hand Washing Is Best

According to the CDC, hand washing can prevent infections and the spread of germs for of a number of different reasons. Some of the most common ways that hand washing fights off infections include the following:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose and mouth without realizing it. Germs easily get into our bodies through these channels and make us sick.
  • Germs from dirty hands get into food and drinks. In some types of food or drink, these germs can multiply and make people even sicker.
  • Germs from dirty hands are transferred to objects they touch. This includes handrails, tables, door handles, phones and more. Once there, these germs then get transferred to the next person who touches the object.
  • When people wash their hands, they are effectively removing germs from the surface of their skin. That way, germs are less likely to get inside bodies, on food, or on other objects, helping prevent the transmission of illnesses.

When to Wash Your Hands With Soap and Water

Knowing when to clean your hands will give you the best chance of reducing the spread of germs and disease. The CDC advises that you should always wash your hands in the following circumstances:

  • Before handling or eating food
  • Before and after coming into contact with a person who's sick
  • Before and after treating a wound or coming into contact with blood or other bodily fluids
  • After going to the restroom or changing a diaper
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • After touching an animal or coming into contact with an animal cage or animal waste
  • After taking out the trash
  • If your hands appear dirty or greasy

How to Properly Wash Your Hands

When you wash your hands, the soap alone won't be enough to effectively kill all germs that are present. While you're rubbing your hands together, the friction helps to loosen more germs so the soap and water can rinse them away. Use these steps to properly wash your hands:

  • Wet hands. Run your hands under clean water before applying soap.
  • Apply your favorite soap.
  • Lather up. Soap should reach every part of your hands and fingers, especially under your fingernails.
  • Scrub thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. The friction created in this step can lift dirt and germs.
  • Rinse. Hold your hands under clean running water to remove dirt, germs and any soapy residue.
  • Dry your hands. Use disposable paper towels, a clean hand towel or a hand drier to effectively remove all moisture.
  • You can't always prevent coming into contact with germs, but by keeping proper hand hygiene, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of becoming sick or spreading germs to others.

While your healthcare staff is focused on stopping the spread of germs, ensuring that your facility is thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected as needed by a professionally trained team is also important. To keep your facility clean, call on the professionals at ServiceMaster Clean. Our commercial janitorial services for healthcare facilities have been created with best practices and protocols set forth by governmental healthcare organizations to help with infection control and prevention, risk reduction and environment improvement. Contact us today to learn more about how we can create a comprehensive, customized cleaning regimen to care for all of your facility's needs.

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