Focus on friction for clean hands

The latest research on hand washing points to the importance of friction:

“After two years of jolly hard work” they found that holding one’s hands under running water is a waste of time, but rubbing hands together “purposefully” under a running tap is extremely effective. After 10 seconds of rubbing, 95% of the microbes had been removed. After 20 seconds, 99% had gone. Interestingly, soap slowed down the rate of decontamination, at least initially, as soap decreases the friction. “But after about 20 seconds you ended up at the same point because you had got rid of the soap and the friction value was restored.”

Dr Tom Miller who led the study isn’t recommending giving up soap but said it isn’t necessary:

In other words, it’s time to revise our understanding of what makes a good hand wash; use soap if you want, but focus on the friction. Miller recommends rubbing hands and fingers together under running water for 20 seconds. Asked whether anyone is really likely to count to 20 while rubbing their hands together, he suggests a Catholic approach. “Just say a Hail Mary. Slowly.”

That’s fine for Catholics, but what do the rest of us do?

Twenty seconds is a long time at a hand basin, especially if the water’s cold, and without something to give an accurate assessment of the time most of us would fall short of the optimum.

5 Responses to Focus on friction for clean hands

  1. JC says:

    “That’s fine for Catholics, but what do the rest of us do?”

    Just imagine you’ve got your hands around Winston’s neck…

    JC

    Like

  2. homepaddock says:

    JC – that might result more in wringing than rubbing.

    Like

  3. ZenTiger says:

    That’s fine for Catholics, but what do the rest of us do?

    Just become Catholic?

    Like

  4. lindareid says:

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
    How I wonder what you are
    Up above the world so high
    Like a diamond in the sky
    Twinkle Twinkle little star
    How I wonder what you are

    20 secs

    Like

  5. homepaddock says:

    Zen – there would have to be a much beter reason than clean hands for that.

    Linda – thanks, that’s much easier than conversion.

    Like

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