Will Stein

Let’s Be Productive Washing Hands

Oh no, did you hear a cough? Who coughed? Don’t panic. Wash your hands instead. The current pandemic, COVID-19, is spreading fast and something you can do to slow it’s spread quite simply is washing your hands frequently throughout your day. Our hands are constantly coming in contact with surfaces, whether you touched something at your house, at your work, or maybe you touched a cart and various food packaging at the grocery store. Whatever it is, our hands are constantly touching surfaces containing germs and our hands are soaking them up. Studies have shown human hands contain more germs than a public toilet seat. However, frequent hand washing can do the trick ridding of germs before we infect new surfaces such as door knobs and light switches for example but more importantly we do not want to spread the germs to our own face. I know, I know, hand washing isn’t a fan favorite activity and can be quiet boring, but I’ve got some fun ideas you can use to pass the time: 

Melissa Farrell


  • You can sing or hum the chorus of a song such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or ABC or Happy Birthday TWICE!
  • You could do 20 squats. There’s no excuse for why you can’t exercise now. You are graced with seconds of free time. 
  • You could try a mini examination using your 5 senses. Look around and find something you could see, hear, touch, taste and smell.
  • Another time passerby is thinking about friends or relatives you want to connect with. You will have the perfect opener, “Just washed my hands and was thinking of you, hope you’re staying safe.”
  • Lastly, the traditional method of counting to 20. 

Keep in mind that just because you fulfilled the 20 second hand washing minimum. That does not mean your wash was effective. You need to make sure to:

  • Use hot or very warm water and soap. Water alone won’t effectively remove microbes, so make sure you have soap handy. Antibacterial, foamy or regular soap – any will do the trick.
  • Use proper technique:
    • Make sure you scrub your entire hands, including the tops of your hands up to your wrists – you rest your wrists on surfaces too like your keyboard tray.
    • Scrub in between your fingers and don’t forget the thumb.
    • Get soap under your fingernails as well, to eliminate the germs stuck under the nail. 
    • Then finish the wash with a rinse of hot water. 
  • Don’t forget to dry your hands. Wet hands can pick up 1,000 times more germs than dry hands. So use a hand dryer or clean towel when finished. Hand towels in your bathroom and in the kitchen should be changed everyday.

These tips will optimize your hand washing and hopefully the fun tricks above will make it all enjoyable. If you can’t frequently make it to a sink to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is an option. You do need to make sure however that it contains alcohol to be effective in killing the germs. Hand sanitizers are available in squeeze bottles of various sizes to keep in your car, hand bag or briefcase. Hand sanitizers even come in sprays perfect for a quick spray of not only your hands but also to clean germs off items your hands are frequently touching such as your cell phone or favorite writing instrument. 

Everyone should be taking this pandemic seriously. Hand washing is a part of that seriousness. Do your part to stop the coronavirus. If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones. Every once in a while, take a trip to the sink, turn on the water faucet and suds up those hands. Which fun hand washing trick will you try for 20 seconds?


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