Today is Global Handwashing Day! Raise a Hand for Hygiene

Dirty HandsDon’t forget to wash your hands!

Did anyone else just hear their mother’s voice?

Sure, when it comes to good hygiene habits, children need to be reminded constantly.  But adults? Surely not. Adults know the importance of washing their hands. Right?

A recent study in the Journal of Environmental Health reported that only five percent of adults wash their hands properly after using the bathroom – that’s only one in 20 adults.

The CDC defines proper handwashing as rubbing vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. During a busy day, 20 seconds can seem like a long time – and many of us are guilty of cutting those 20 seconds short.

SWAT Your Way to Proper Hand Hygiene
Share this infographic for easy reminders for proper handwashing

We know handwashing is incredibly important, but what about drying your hands? Studies show that, jet air dryers actually increase bacteria on hands up to 42%, and warm air dryers increase bacteria by up to 254%. Think about that for a moment − after washing your hands, they can actually get dirtier just by using a hand dryer.

This study found that paper towels reduce the appearance of bacteria on hands by 77% after washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Makes you feel a little bit better about good old soap, water, and paper towels, doesn’t it?

Many people substitute hand sanitizers for handwashing. While hand sanitizer is useful in killing germs on-the-go, it doesn’t help remove residual dirt  − that requires friction, which means handwashing.

Veritiv is recognizing Global Handwashing Day, Thursday, October 15. Founded in 2008 by the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, Global Handwashing Day is dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap and water – an easy and effective way to prevent disease and save lives. This year’s theme is “Raise a Hand for Hygiene”.

We encourage you to make proper handwashing an everyday habit.

Learn more about Global Handwashing Day at globalhandwashing.org. For general information on proper hand hygiene, find the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s handwashing resources at cdc.gov/handwashing.