LifestyleLiving a Better Life


5 steps to proper handwashing to avoid getting sick

Posted at 4:42 AM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 13:58:02-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — October 15 is Global Handwashing Day. You might think that’s silly. Why do we need a day for that?

According to the University of Utah, only five percent of people wash their hands correctly. Only five percent!

And spreading germs is one of the main reasons people get sick.

Think about all the things we touch! From computer mice to keyboards, door knobs to desks, cell phones and more!

“Our phones are full of germs,” said Amy Hathaway of Grosse Pointe, who’s just getting over a cold. “For two weeks, I’ve been washing my hands all day long.”

And that’s smart! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says keeping hands clean is one of the most important ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

That’s what Global Handwashing Day is trying to promote.

“First time I’ve heard of it,” said Fred Hassan of Detroit when asked if he’d ever heard of Global Handwashing Day.

It’s a day to remind us all the five simple steps to properly wash your hands, according to the CDC.


1. Wet
2. Lather
3. Scrub
4. Rinse
5. Dry

One, wet hands with clean, running water.

“I usually use hot water,” said Zahara Abdallah of Dearborn who’s studying to become a nurse.

The good news is the temperature of the water can be whatever you like – hot, cold, warm. As long as the water is clean, you’re good to go!

Two, lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap.

Don’t forget the backs of your hands and in between your fingers, too.

Three, scrub your hands and under your nails for at least 20 seconds.

The CDC's rule of thumb is to sing the Happy Birthday song twice in your head…and you’re done!

Four, rinse with clean running water to wash those germs away!

Five, dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

But what if you don’t have soap and clean water available?

The CDC recommends in that case to use a hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol.

It won't take care of all germs, but it'll get most of them. And that's better than nothing!

Remember, the goal is to avoid spreading germs and getting sick.

Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth – which can make us sick. Think about how many times you touch your face and don’t even realize it!

Germs can also be transferred to objects we touch or get into the food and drinks we consume and that can also make us sick.

So, handwashing is one important part of our quest to stay healthy.