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Poor Handwashing Leads to Cross-Contamination

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Jul 06, 2018


People are spreading dangerous bacteria around and don’t even realize it. The cause – improper handwashing.

A recent study from the US Department of Agriculture shows that 97% of people who wash their hands are doing it wrong. This may seem strange as popular belief tells us that as long as you wash your hands, you’re germ-free. 

Handwashing may seem like a simple task – however, most people don’t wash their hands according to the recommended Centers for Disease Control model (the one that’s actually proven to prevent germ spread and cross-contamination).

A separate study done in 2013 by Michigan State University found that only 5% of people washed their hands according to the CDC model. This lack of proper handwashing contributes to the CDC’s staggering numbers like:

  • 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illnesses each year
  • 90,000 people die from Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) each year
  • Over 22 million school days are lost due to the common cold each year


How do we break our poor handwashing habits and change our handwashing behavior? By following the CDC model – it only takes 20 seconds.

Here’s a simple break-down you can follow to make sure you are doing a good job when washing your hands:

Step 1: Wet your hands with clean, running water.

Step 2: Turn off the water and apply enough soap to cover your hands.

Step 3: Scrub, scrub, scrub! Make sure you get the backs of your hands, under your nails and in-between your fingers.

Step 4: Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Step 5: Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

Step 6: Dry your hands with a clean, single-use towel or air dry them.

Pro-tip: Want to take extra precautions? Place hand sanitizer outside the restroom door and use it after you leave the restroom.

Think about it – no touch is germ-free. When we wash our hands correctly, we prevent the spread of germs and viruses to others.

Want to teach people in your facility how to wash their hands the right way? Implement the Compass® Hand Hygiene Program from Betco® today! Click here to learn more.