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Personal Finance

Wash Your Hands Like A Doctor


Yesterday, I wrote about 13 ways to kill a cold without killing your budget. Washing your hands was number one on that list. That got me thinking. Most people really don’t wash their hands like they should. Next time you’re in a public bathroom watch how people wash their hands. First, you’ll notice that many people just don’t do it (eeewww). Second, those that do stop at the sink just run their hands under water quickly. That’s not going to do anything to get rid of those germs. If you want to get the germ fighting benefit of hand washing you have to do it right and no one washes their hands better than doctors. Here’s how you can wash your hands just like them.

When To Do It


  • preparing or serving food
  • eating food
  • inserting or removing contact lenses
  • treating a cut or wound
  • brushing and flossing your teeth
  • picking your nose (just kidding! But seriously, most bacteria from our hands infect us after coming into contact with our nose)


  • using the bathroom (no brainer)
  • being around someone who is sick
  • blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing
  • handling uncooked poultry
  • changing a diaper
  • picking your nose

How To Do It

  1. Wet your hands with warm water.
  2. Get some soap and rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds. A doctor friend of mine said 20 seconds is about the amount of time it takes to hum “Happy Birthday” twice.
  3. Make sure to wash all the surfaces of your hands, including wrists, palms, fingers, and underneath fingernails.
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly with warm water.
  5. Dry hands with a clean paper towel. Turn off sink with paper towel to prevent reinfecting your hands.

Bonus Tip: When you’re in a public bathroom, dispense your paper towel before you wash your hands. The handle on dispensers is probably one of the most germ infested areas in a bathroom. By having the towel ready before you wash, you can avoid touching the dispenser with your clean hands.

Bonus Bonus Tip: When you’re in a public bathroom, don’t throw the paper towel away immediately. Use it to open the door.  Door handles in public bathrooms are covered with bacteria, so protect your newly clean hands by opening it with the paper towel.