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Good Handwashing

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good handwashing

Good handwashing, not exactly a topic you would expect to see on the Trendy Tree blog, but yet in light of the Coronavirus epidemic, it’s important to visit the topic.

Time to rely on my nursing education and re-educate my family on good handwashing. Good handwashing is the first line of defense again germs and viruses. Hand sanitizer helps when you can’t wash your hands, but soap and running water are your best bet.

Proper Handwashing:

  1. Wet your hands in running water, warm or cold
  2. Lather with soap (pump soap)
  3. Scrub 20 seconds. 
  4. Rinse under running water
  5. Dry

Twenty seconds, how many times are we finished in three seconds! That’s 20 “one-Mississippis” or the Happy Birthday song twice. Time yourself. You’ll be surprised. Twenty seconds is a lot longer than you think. And don’t forget your fingernails.

Soap

Bar soap versus pump soap. Go with pump soap. Bar soap for the shower or tub is different in that anyone that comes into your bathroom to wash their hands, won’t be using your bath soap.

My nursing experience, while working with an infectious disease specialist whom I revered, definitely made me do away with bar soap at sink faucets in our home. We’ve only been using pump soap for handwashing probably since the 1980s

My husband likes the regular pump soap and I prefer the foaming pump soap. The husband is a shark about some things and he would cringe every time I picked up a new container of pump soap. Because he keeps a GALLON (well maybe not a gallon) of it to refill those pump soap containers. Good grief….sometimes I just want a new look to the pump soap in my bathroom!

So, now that I use foaming soap, he lets me alone. But you can make your own foaming soap too. Just don’t throw your old foaming soap container away.

good handwashing

 

Just fill the container with water. Mine held about 10 ounces Add two teaspoons of liquid soap and shake. The foam isn’t quite as thick and firm as store-bought kind, but it’s okay. I still like it better than liquid soap.

homemade foaming soap

 

 

Handtowels vs Paper Towels

Since handwashing is the first line of defense in protecting ourselves from illness, what happens when we are so careful to practice good handwashing, but then use the same hand towel over and over again? Maybe the person before you didn’t get their hands really clean. A damp towel harbors germs.

The CDC says to wash your hands for 20 seconds and dry with a clean towel or air dry. It doesn’t say dry your hands with a clean towel that has been used all day….or two days….or…whatever.

Paper towels are a good solution to the damp towel problem.  It doesn’t take 3-4 sheets to get your hands dry. Be frugal, but the main thing is our health. 

Another option would be to keep a stack of cheap wash cloths by the sink. Use them one time and toss in the laundry. Better to have a little extra folding to do than risk getting sick.

We’re all guilty, but during these trying times, we have to strive to do better. So, in an effort to do better, we have removed handtowels from our bathrooms and replaced them with paper towels. We probably should have been doing this before, but it’s one small thing that we can change in our daily habits that might keep us healthier longer.

Make Handwashing Easy 

I’ll have to admit, I’m sort of OCD when it comes to my kitchen. Not in a bad way, but I like things to have a place and for the most part, I like them out of sight. I don’t like to keep canisters on the countertops or dishwashing liquids, soaps and the like around the kitchen sink. An uncluttered look is my preference.

This has always gotten a lot of exasperated sighs from my grandchildren when I say “wash your hands.” The hand soap was kept under the kitchen sink and to hear them sigh you would think it was at the end of the driveway!

One reason I probably kept it under the sink was that I wanted them to go wash their hands in the bathroom instead of the kitchen sink. I don’t know why maybe just to keep them out of the kitchen. Yes, I’m one of those people who likes to be in the kitchen….alone. 

But, in light of the coronavirus looming over us, soap now sits proudly at the kitchen sink along with paper towels. Last night when the grands came over to eat supper….it was like a lineup. One after the other, washing their hands…..at the kitchen sink. 

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is for cleaning your hands when you can’t perform good handwashing. It’s not the first choice. Soap and water are. But, it’s great to keep in your purse, your car and to use it when you are shopping. But the thing to do when you get back home is to practice is good handwashing.

You can make your own hand sanitizer if you can’t find it in the stores right now. That is if you can find the alcohol. Alcohol needs to be 70% at least and preferably higher than that. We have 50% alcohol and aloe gel at home right now. When my two little bottles of travel size sanitizer run out, maybe there will be more alcohol available in town and I can make some.

 

 

 

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