Feel like 20 seconds is too long to wash your hands? Think again. 80% of the spread of common infectious diseases are credited to your hands. With the novel coronavirus being spread in much the same way, handwashing is not only critical to health and hygiene but an effective preventive measure from being infected. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that it takes about a minute to wash your hands properly from start to finish, and PROBE IT’s food handler course goes over these crucial six steps. Below are some of the tips included in our course on what to do and what to avoid to practice proper hand hygiene.
MAKE SURE YOU:
Use warm water: Wetting your hands before applying soap is necessary so that you can get a nice lather. Otherwise, the soap will not go anywhere. Warmer water is more effective in getting a better lather according to chemist Bill Wuest, which is our next point.
Lather: Use enough soap to get a nice foamy lather when you rub your hands palm-to-palm, so that the soap can cover all of your hands. This is the form of soap that will “catch” all the microorganisms.
Rub for 20 seconds minimum: Make sure to rub your hands to scrub off any dirt and get the lather in all the creases of your hands – interlacing your fingers and getting under your nails and around your thumb.
Use paper towels: Disposable paper towels are the best to use as it eliminates the possibility of cross- contamination. At home, towels are acceptable as long as they are clean – the last thing you want is to get new dirt onto your freshly-washed hands.
Use a handwashing sink: In communal areas, and especially in food-service establishments, using the designated handwashing sink is a must. Otherwise, the area you are washing your hands in might not have the right soap or paper towel, and you might even get your hands more contaminated.
Skip it: Washing your hands before preparing food, even when wearing gloves, is important to ensure you are not transferring any germs – or coronaviruses – onto the food you will be handling. You may be tempted to leave it out when changing tasks, after handling or preparing raw food, but that is especially important so that no harmful microorganisms are transferred from one food, or area of the kitchen, to another. It is never okay to skimp on handwashing, and getting certified with our course will ensure you know all the scenarios where it’s necessary.
Only rinse: Soap is the key to both removing any dirt and killing harmful microorganisms that may have ended up on your hands. Without it, water will only wash away surface-level dirt and give you a false sense of security.
Rinse without lathering: No matter how much of a rush you are in, make sure to rub the soap into your hands for those 20 seconds for it to be effective. A minute of your time is all it takes to wash your hands properly, and makes all the difference.
Dry hands on clothes: Although drying your hands is important to prevent chapping, using your clothes is the definitely not the way to go: this may transfer bacteria and other microorganisms back onto the hands you worked so hard to clean.
Replace handwashing with glove-use: You should definitely still wash your hands even if you are using gloves to make sure nothing ends up on the gloves you will be using for your tasks.
If you stick by these guidelines, and learn the relevant details in our food handler course, you’ll be well equipped to keep your hands as germ-free as possible.