Lynchburg, VA- Do you think washing your hands really kills germs? Odds are it doesn't, because you most likely aren't doing it right. That's according to a recent study in the Journal of Environmental Health.
A group of students at Michigan State University surveilled several public bathrooms and found that only five percent of people properly washed their hands.
When we told one man that 10% of people do not wash their hands at all, he said, "What?!! I couldn't do that." Another man said, "I wash my hands about three or four times a day."
Diane Jones, the Director of Infection Prevention at Centra, said, "It is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of infection."
The most important, and the most looked-over. 95% of people don't properly wash their hands, and carry those icky bathroom germs with them throughout the day.
"When we don't take the 15-20 seconds, that's all it takes, to clean your hands you have the potential to spread that to other people," said Jones.
15-20 seconds of water, soap and friction will kill most all of your undesirables. Most people only spend about six seconds washing their hands. But there are some overachievers out there.
One man said he washes his hands for 30 seconds. Another man said four or five minutes. "I like my hands clean. You see them? I don't like any dirty hands," he said.
If hand washing isn't for you, Diane Jones says hand sanitizer is a good alternative.
"If you just want to sanitize your hands and they're not visibly dirty the alcohol is a good substitute for that," she said.
But, she says soap and water will always yield the best results.
"It's still the gold standard in terms of hand hygiene," she said.
And one man said, "Even if I have to urinate or like, do the other thing, it's always good hygiene."
To properly wash your hands Jones says you're supposed to wet your hands first, get your soap, and work up a good lather. Then for at least 15 seconds you wash in between your fingers, the fronts and backs of your hands, and even your wrists if you'd like. After you've rinsed, get your paper towel, dry your hands, then use it to turn off the faucet. Follow these instructions your hands will be germ free.