The Important Part Of Hand Washing You're Probably Skipping

Not since we were in grade school have we heard so many people telling us to wash our hands. And not since we were in kindergarten have we sung the "Happy Birthday" song as many times as we have without it actually being our birthdays. But no matter how many happy birthdays we sing, or how many pumps of liquid soap (WebMD says liquid gel soaps work better than foam) or hand sanitizers we use, we may still not be washing our hands the right way... and yes, until recently, most of us weren't aware there is a right way and a wrong way to wash our hands.


The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have taken an uncompromising stance on the way handwashing should be done, particularly if we're talking about trying to prevent a COVID-19 coronavirus infection. 

The instructions are to wet your hands with clean water, lather soap on every last spot of your hands, scrub (and sing) for at least 20 seconds, and then rinse. The final step? Dry them off with a clean towel. 

If you're tired of singing the CDC-recommended classic "Happy Birthday," you might want to check out Playbill and Billboard, which have offered up other, more interesting, 20-second tunes that could keep your fellow handwashers entertained.

However, there is one thing we might have been missing this whole time.


We hardly wash under our nails

There is, though, one spot we are likely to forget, and that's the underside of our nails — the bit manicurists call the "free edge." "Virus and bacteria can thrive in a warm and moist environment, like under your fingernails," one celebrity nail stylist tells Refinery 29. "If you have long nails, the best practice is to use a proper scrub brush on the underside using hot soapy water, and sing the ABCs while you're cleaning them to make sure you're taking your time to get rid of any dirt or bacteria."


Doing a thorough job of cleaning the underside of your nails is especially critical if you are a nail biter — but with official directives to keep your hands away from your face, you may want to make washing under your nails a habit, and take the opportunity to learn to stop biting them while you're at it.