The Sideshow

You’re doing it wrong: Only 5 percent wash hands the right way, study says

The Sideshow

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Students washing their hands (ThinkStock)


Here’s something to ponder the next time you head to the loo: Only five percent of people wash their hands long enough to kill disease-causing germs. Translation: Ick.

That’s according to a study from Michigan State University, which based its results on observing 3,749 people in public restrooms.

These intrepid researchers published the results in the Journal of Environmental Health. And the details just get more disgusting.

From the story on the MSU.edu website, the dirty details:

-Fifteen percent of men didn’t wash their hands at all, compared with 7 percent of women.
-When they did wash their hands, only 50 percent of men used soap, compared with 78 percent of women.
-People were less likely to wash their hands if the sink was dirty.
-People were more likely to wash their hands if a sign encouraging them to do so was present.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that while 50 percent of foodborne illness are caused by dirty hands, washing those hands is the best way to prevent disease from spreadingif you do it right.

That means washing with soap and water for 20 seconds. The study found that most people wash, on average, for six seconds.

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