Hands are that associates of a human body that are always working, moving and interacting with the immediate surroundings. Our hands may seem clean to us at the external level. We may assume that we can simply wash our hands with water and put our hands back to work. But that is not the appropriate way to look after our hands. We use our hands for eating, working, holding things, typing, writing, shopping, cleaning, defecation process and much more. Have a look at the below diagram that highlights multiple types of bacteria that breed on our hands.

Pathogens are the microorganisms that are mentioned in the image above. Microorganisms are the minute agents that cause diseases. Now, let us understand some terms that are interlinked. Bacteria are of many kind but for the purpose of our understanding, I am mentioning germs and viruses only. The agents that carry bacteria affecting a living being are called pathogens.

Bacteria– Bacteria are eukaryotic cells usually found indoors in a closed setting. They usually get created where there is dampness, fermentation or unhygienic settings.

Germs– Germs are a type of bacteria that can be a carrier of communicable diseases through touch, breath and insect bites. Flu, cold, chickenpox are few temporary health issues that are the effects of germs.

Virus– Viruses are usually found inside living beings and are extremely minute in nature. It takes a while to show their symptoms and does not get washed off like germs. Hence viruses are more health-damaging than germs.

Ever since we were moppets we have been taught the importance of washing our hands upon encountering various situations. Washing hands removes dirt, residues, pollutants, bacteria, etc. Germs which are a type of bacteria gets easily removed with the effective methodology of using hand wash. Washing hands is the most effective way to prevent communicable diseases. Communicable diseases are diseases that can pass to another person through breathing, interactions, skin cuts, insect bites, etc. Hand washes are of two kinds, Antiseptic hand washes for general household purposes and surgical ones for medical purposes. Other than these two household and infirmary purpose there are two other categories of hand wash products that are called soaps. The yardstick is, breaking the soap category into two.

Kitchen soaps:  They are categorized into detergents are cleaner

Antimicrobial soaps: They are toilet soaps and bathing soaps.

Antimicrobial soaps are not the most effective measure to be used for washing hands. Soaps remove dirt from the superficial level but deeply seeped bacteria still remains. Also, soaps are harsh on the skin and make the skin dry. Hence, I recommend using hand wash over soaps. Doing your research on the best suitable option for a hand wash is pivotal. There are some people who have sensitive skin and they must go for herbal hand wash. Someone may like perfumed base fragrance, and they can opt for perfumed hand wash.

Hand wash is our best friend as it kicks out the germs from entering our system but if we also do not befriend them, how will the friendship sustain? There is a friendly way we should use the hand wash.


Prior to washing hands

  • Check for hangnails, if any.
  • Remove artificial pieces of jewellery
  • Stand properly without putting weight on the basin
  • Wash the hands with water
  • Take 2ml to 4 ml approximately 1 tsp hand wash on the palm

Process of washing hands

  • First, rub the dorsal(outer) part of the hands
  • Interface the fingers and thumb and massage
  • Right hand over the left dorsum and vice versa.
  • Continue the circular motions from proximal to distant parts.
  • Massage the hands for 40 seconds to a minute
  • Be careful of the hangnails as they may hurt
  • Massage cuticles well at the last
  • Drain the excess water from the hands.
  • Pat dry with a clean towel or a disposal tissue paper.

As we now understand that we need to use hand wash frequently and multiple times a day. Our hands are a colonizing susceptible site for bacteria to breed. We must use the hand wash before and after working in the kitchen or using the restroom. Hand wash must also be used during perpetual moments when we have worked with anything that causes grease, particles, color, chemicals, sand and so forth.

Five surfaces are critical to be washed namely; palms, back of the hand, wrist, and fingertips and between the fingers. The mantra for it is spending five seconds at every five areas for an effectual procedure of washing hands. Some tips, be gentle, kind towards your hand and thank the hand wash that has made our life so easy and germs free.

 By :- Zahra Shakir. Zahra is a professional social worker and educator who love sewing her thoughts of the inner world through written words. She is currently associated with Mistpoffer as an intern.


  1. https://www.nhft.nhs.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n3296
  2. https://www.slideshare.net/drsujnanendra/global-handwashing-day
  3. https://www.slideshare.net/DocLorie/routine-hand-washing-technique-presentation
  4. https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Hand_Hygiene_Why_How_and_When_Brochure.pdf

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