While many reach first for hand sanitizer, health experts at WSU and elsewhere recommend using soap and water, which is more effective and tends to be in much greater supply.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Removing germs with handwashing also helps prevent infection from people’s frequent inadvertent touching of their eyes nose and mouth, among other reasons.
Handwashing posters complete with CDC tips for proper cleansing are hanging prominently in public restrooms across the Pullman campus. Additionally, singing the WSU Fight Song while rubbing soap and water over your hands is one way to make sure you’re spending the recommended amount of time washing.
Prioritizing soap and water when available also helps conserve hand sanitizer for healthcare providers, who are advised by the CDC to use 60% to 95% alcohol-based hand sanitizer when caring for patients. As noted by health officials, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is recommended if soap and water aren’t readily available.
For more information, visit the CDC’s handwashing website. A video with frequently asked questions about handwashing is below.