Hand washing with soap

Zaina Waheed, Staff Writer

Recently, many peoples’ daily routines have changed in light of COVID-19. Hygiene has become a significant component in improving overall health and wellness in peoples’ lives. Hand washing plays an important role in personal hygiene.

“As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth, or spread them to others,” wrote the Mayo Clinic Staff in Mayo Clinic.

We touch and interact with so many different things during the day, we don’t realize how much of it stays on our hands. As we touch more and more things, the germs on our hands continue to increase.

“Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others,” said the CDC (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Germs stick to the natural oils on your hands. As a result, they don’t get removed by just rinsing your hands with water because water and oil don’t go well together.

“Water and oil don’t like each other, so they won’t mix,” wrote Kimberly Hickok, a reference editor who has a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and master’s degree in biology, in LiveScience.

 According to Hickok, soap is a certain surfactant, which means it’s hydrophilic and hydrophobic.

“They [surfactants] have one end that’s water loving, or hydrophilic, and one end that’s oil loving, or hydrophobic,” said Hicock.

When you wash your hands, soap mixes with both the oils on your hands and the water you’re using. The water rinses away the soap, along with the germs.

“Soap doesn’t kill germs on our hands, it removes them,” said Hicock.

Most healthcare advisors say to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. You can sing Happy Birthday twice, or come up with your own strategy to make sure you wash your hands for the right amount of time. You should wash between your fingers, nails, wrists, and underneath your nails.

“Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs,” said the CDC.

We collect so many germs on our hands, and they can easily get to our faces. Hand washing is one of the best ways to get rid of the germs on hands and prevent the spread of germs that can lead to infections and illnesses.