What does it mean to have “good handwashing technique”?
We’re endlessly reminded of the importance of washing our hands. But does the soap really help all that much? Yes, but it’s the technique that matters.
Anyone can “wash their hands” with soap and water and still come away with even more bacteria than when they started. The real secret to cleanliness, it seems, is not only whether you use soap, but how hard you scrub, and for how long. The way your soap is stored and dispensed also matters, although in public environments, that’s much less under your control. While health officials recommend washing for anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds, they should consider themselves lucky if people’s entire bathroom trips last that long. Realistically, you might shoot for around 15 seconds of washing — which, as it happens, isn’t much longer than the current average (with soap, it hovers around 13 seconds; without it, it’s about 11).
Oh, and use anti-bacterial soap if you can get your hands (pun intended) on it:
Regular soap simply causes bacteria to loosen their grip on your hands, to be rinsed away. That helps explain why using water alone still seems to work just fine, as long as you rub your hands together vigorously. By contrast, antibacterial soap has additives that are designed to kill bacteria outright.
Conclusion: Wash your hands; wash your hands real hard.