Coronavirus: Hand-washing is important, here's how to do it effectively

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Hand-washing only works if done properly. It is also essential to preventing the spread of diseases – like coronavirus.

Here’s how to do it properly, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit our dedicated section.

Wet your hands with clean, running water, and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together. Make sure to wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. In other words, don’t use water sitting in a basin or bucket.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

How to wash your hands. (Screengrab, WHO website.)
How to wash your hands. (Screengrab, WHO website.)

20 seconds is key

It’s important to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds, or hand washing is not as effective. The “happy birthday” song sung twice is about 20 seconds.

The coronavirus is surrounded by a structure that has spiky proteins attached to a membrane that dissolves once it comes in contact with soap, making the virus harmless and ineffective.

Read more: Coronavirus: What to disinfect at home to avoid infection

Also remember to actually scrub your hands; simply slapping some soap on and rubbing them together won’t get the job done.

Do hand sanitizers work?

The CDC says that sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands, but it does not get rid of all types of germs. Try to find one with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Read more: How long can coronaviruses survive in a freezer? Up to two years, warns expert

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