When was the last time you gave thought on how to wash your hands? Turn the tap on, add soap, rub and rinse. What’s to think about? According to science – A lot. If you really want to get your hands clean and germ free you need to be following the 6 (yes 6) step method to the best way to wash your hands according to science.


Researchers at the Glasgow Caledonian University compared two methods and discovered that one of them reduces bacteria count from 3.28 to 2.58 whilst the other method takes it down to 2.88.


The two methods were the 6 step method recommended by the World Health Organisation and the Three step method, recommended by America’s Centre for Disease Control & Prevention. The winner? The World Health Organisation’s 6 step method which although takes longer (and additional 7.5 seconds on average) will leave your hands more hygienic.


How to wash your hands according to science

For starters you want to be using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, but in a pinch water and soap will do. Wet your hands with water, apply soap or sanitisers

  1. Begin by rubbing your palms together with your fingers closed
  2. Rub your right palm over the back of your left hand, fingers interlocking. Then rub your left palm over the back of your right hand, fingers interlocking.
  3. Next, rub your palms together with your fingers interlaced
  4. Then rub the backs of your fingers to the opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
  5. Next rub one hand around the thumb of the other, and repeat with your other hand.
  6. Lastly, rub the fingers of one hand in the palm of the other, repeating with the opposite side.

To dry your hands properly, you’ll have to complete an additional 3 steps.

This method will take on average 42.5 seconds, but you can walk away knowing you’ve washed your hands according to science and reduced the bacterial levels as much as they can go.


How to Wash Your Hands According to science
Image: WHO



Today happens to be world hand hygiene day so it’s a great day to give this a shot. It’s also the perfect method of washing in the weeks leading up to a big race like Comrades when you want to steer clear of as many germs as you can.

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