Unless you've been living under a rock, on Mars, void of contact with a single Earthling, you've likely been thinking about washing your hands more than usual lately. The CDC has said it plainly and simply for years: Clean Hands Save Lives. And their message is hitting home now more than ever.
Washing our hands is something we should all be doing, all the time, but there has never been more pressure to keep your hands medical-grade clean than in our current "disinfect everything" reality. Pressure can lead to stress, though, and stress can lead to a less-than-mighty immune system. So we say: don't worry, just washy—and make sure you're doing it correctly.
You don't need anything fancy. Soap, water, and the right scrubbing technique will do the trick. There are a lot of hand-washing guides out there, but we figure everyone's got the beginning and end down. (Wet hands. Dry hands.) So we've created a guide focused on the scrubbing itself, to help us all remember the moves we might otherwise forget. Learn these 7 steps by heart and your hands—and health—will thank you.
How To Scrub: Peanut Butter From Now Till The Weekend
(Adapted from the World Health Organization Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care.)
No, Peanut Butter From Now Till The Weekend isn't a new emo pop punk band. It's a mnemonic that will help you remember the 7 parts of your hands you need to wash every time. Bonus: skip singing "Happy Birthday" and say each step 3 times while washing for a full 20-second hand wash.
Rub palms together firmly in a circular motion.
Rub palm against back of hand with fingers interlaced.
Rub palms together again with fingers interlaced.
Clasp hands in a "choir singer" position and twist to scrub nails.
Wrap hand around thumb and twist to scrub.
Massage palms with fingertips in circular motion.
Clasp each wrist and twist to scrub.
Editor's note: At the time of publishing, the World Health Organization Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care doesn't include wrists as part of their guideline. However, we've included it here as an option for our readers as other guidelines sometimes do include the cleaning of wrists as an additional step to be extra cautious.
Germs love moisture, so make sure not to skimp when it comes to drying your hands. Another tip: keep your nails short and your polish fresh—germs can make themselves at home in cracking polish. Not cute. If you're wondering how hard you should be scrubbing, don't shy away from being firm. The goal is to dislodge germs from the skin, so put some elbow grease into it.
All that washing can really dry out your hands, but using a gentle yet effective hand wash with moisturizing ingredients can help. And that, ladies and gents, is what you call a segue.
This hand wash recipe pairs Cove—which already contains skin-nourishing oils like coconut, olive, argan, jojoba and hemp—with a little extra coconut oil for maximum moisture.
Here's the recipe:
Cove Simple (Yet Super) Hand Wash
- A bottle with soap pump
- 1/3 cup Cove Unscented Castile liquid soap
- 1 tbsp fractionated coconut oil
- 12 drops essential oil
- Distilled water
- Pour your Cove into your soap bottle.
- Add fractionated coconut oil.
- Drip a few drops of your favorite essential oils into the mix.
- Top with distilled water. (Make sure to leave room for the pump.)
How to use it:
- Wet skin with water.
- Pump 2-3 pumps of hand wash into palms.
- Refer to the video above.
- Follow all 7 steps, washing for at least 20 seconds.
- Dry well.
- Follow with hand cream to keep skin soft.
The essential oil or blend of oils you choose will depend entirely on your taste. Go with citrus scents like Lemon, Grapefruit, Sweet Orange, or Bergamot for an uplifting, squeaky clean. Choose herbaceous oils like Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, or Peppermint for a fresh, nature-scented hand wash. If you know you love florals, scents like Geranium, Lavender, or Rose will keep you smiling through all the hand-washing to come.
Wash well and wash often, friends.
How are you coping with this new normal we're living in? Have any tips for staying well while social distancing? Please share in the comments. Please. We beg of you.