NEW OREANS — One of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus is also one of the easiest: washing your hands. But, it only works if you do it correctly.
The CDC recommends these steps for washing your hands:
Wet your hands first. It doesn’t really matter if you use warm or cold water, as long as it is clean. And, running water is better than water sitting in a basin, which has a greater chance of being contaminated.
Turn off the water. The CDC says it is not necessary to scrub under the water. And, who wants to waste water?
Add soap. Soap works better than water alone. Compunds in the soap called surfactants lift the dirt and germs (like coronavirus) and make them easier to wash away.
Lather and scrub. Do this for 20 seconds–30 if you like. The friction helps the soap do its job lifting the dirt and germs from your skin. Wash your palms, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, your wrists (don’t forget to roll up your sleeves), your thumbs, and your fingernails. Mimic a scratching motion on your palms to get under your nails.
Rinse. The soap lifted the dirt and germs. The water washes them away. Again, clean, running water is safer than standing water.
Dry. This is an important step, too. Wet hands attract and spread viruses more easily. At home, a clean towel is okay. In a public restroom, use paper towels or a hand dryer.