Mayo Clinic Minute: You're washing your hands all wrong

Ian Roth: Children often are taught at a young age to wash their hands — before eating and after using the restroom. It's an easy and effective way to stay healthy and avoid spreading disease.

But Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group says adults could do much better at the sink.

Gregory Poland, M.D.: People go to the bathroom and they run their fingers under the water. Well, that does nothing. And, then they grab the dirty faucet, and they touch the dirty handle on the way out of the bathroom.

Ian Roth: Dr. Poland says that in public washrooms there are often more bacteria on those faucets than in the toilet water. So, next time you’re at the sink…

Gregory Poland, M.D.: So you wash your hands while singing happy birthday to yourself, you get between the fingers, the fingertips, the thumb, you turn the water off with a paper towel, and you open the door to leave with a paper towel and dispose of the paper towel. That's how you wash your hands — ideally, with warm, soapy water.

Ian Roth: For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I’m Ian Roth.

Last Updated Apr 1, 2020


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