8 Facts Everyone Should Know About Hand Washing

adult blur clean hands

The World Day of Hand Washing promotes better hygiene on 15 October. According to experts, the Worlds also have some catching up to do when washing their hands – but men can learn from women.

A hand kiss is probably just as inadvisable as a handshake: Many people take it when washing their hands not too exactly. Experts see the World Cleanliness Day on 15 October, the cleaning behavior still up in the air – even in Germany. An overview:

8Gender Equality Of Hand Washing

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At least when washing hands, there is no question of gender equality: In a survey conducted by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), women reported “significantly more often” than men to wash their hands. According to the BZgA, this is also shown by observational studies of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with around 250,000 visitors to restroom toilets. As a result, not even one in three people use water and soap – but 64% of women do.

7Hand Washing Appealscleaning hands

Signs can increase hygiene – at least in men. A few years ago, at a US university, researchers put signs on the men’s room saying, “Four out of five men wash their hands.” Then the number of hand washing machines rose from 77 to 86 percent, as the researchers reported at the time in the journal “Human Communication Research”.

6Germs Hand Washing

man hands washing

Normally, 100 germs per square centimeter are obvious, as explained by the Medical Director of the German Advisory Center for Hygiene, Ernst Tabori. But he emphasizes: “It is not the number, but the type of germs that determines whether we become ill.” Dangerous are pathogens that could cause illnesses in humans. By the way: “The kitchen is the hotspot for infections – rather than the bathroom,” says the specialist. According to him, up to 300 germs per square centimeter can be found on the toilet seat. On the sink, there are about 30,000.

5Hand Washing Reasonchild washing hands

“It is not the absolute frequency of washing hands that is decisive, but the occasion,” explains Andrea Ruckle, BZgA officer for infection protection. In the expert’s opinion, this means: after using the toilet, before and after eating, after contact with animals – and when returning home.

4Hand Washing

cleaning hands handwashing

20 to 30 seconds are required by experts. Few people hold this up, however. A 2013 BZgA survey revealed that only 38 percent of Germans last 20 seconds. And: only water alone is not enough, knows Ruckle. “Many people only hold their hands under running water for a short time. But that does not help much. “By the way: The thumb is often forgotten.

3Germ Sources Hand Washing

baby washing hands

Even the most thorough hand washing quickly ruin some germs: The door handle from the bathroom is as dangerous as their reputation, according to BZgA data. “And that’s when the predecessor has not washed his hands,” explains Ruckle. Also, the flush button of the toilet can be a source of pathogens – for example, if someone else has a gastrointestinal infection.

2Indian Hand Washingcleaning hands in India

Toilet paper prevents your fingers from getting dirty. In India, for example, this is not used at all: Indians clean themselves after using the toilet namely with water and the left hand. Questionable – right? “The question of subsequent cleansing is crucial,” says Tabori. Only if water and soap were used afterward could that be okay? The bright example, however, is not the German citizens, according to the Federal Center for Health Education. “The implementation of washing hand in Germany is still in need of improvement.”

1Holding Hand Washingadult blur concept

“For romance, bacteria do not have so much leftover,” says the hygiene expert. But: “That’s why you should not give up holding hands.” Would kiss in the face of dirty hands advisable? “We rarely touch something dirty with our mouth,” admits Tabori. “To say that’s why you have to greet someone with kisses – I would not go that far.”


  1. Excellent explanation and good point out hand dryer system. Hand washing is essential, and so is the hand drying. Paper towel is the thing we use most for drying our hands. But, a hand dryer can be used for this purpose as well.


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