Ways to promote hand hygiene in your facilities

Promoting the proper steps for hand washing and drying, along with using the right products, can go a long way toward preventing germs.

The easiest route for the transmission of germs is through the hands, especially when high-contact surfaces, such as doorknobs, desk tables, bathrooms, storage areas, refrigerator handles, are not cleaned frequently. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of diseases. It has been an essential part of preventing infections during the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to be one of the mandatory measures for public health.

Knowing how to wash your hands is very important as viruses continue to spread throughout the facility. Proper rules for hand washing and the use of the right products are key to mitigating the spread of germs and avoiding skin irritation.

Tips to wash your hands in the best way

Proper handwashing includes using soap and warm water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds to kill germs. Done the right way, hand washing can reduce the occurrence of respiratory illnesses by up to 21%, reports the CDC. To encourage hand washing, facilities should ensure that soap is always available in bathrooms, kitchens, and near all sink areas. Consider non-contact paper towel and soap dispensers to encourage good hand hygiene practices, provide a hygienic environment, and promote a positive brand image.

Warm water and soap are not always available, especially near high-touch surfaces such as registration counters or elevators. In these cases, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol should be used before and after touching the eyes, nose, mouth, or mask; when entering and leaving a public place; or touching high-contact surfaces is recommended by the CDC. Facilities can use stand-up or desktop dispensers to make the sanitizer more accessible.

The importance of drying

It’s easier for germs to transfer to wet hands, which is why it’s critical to thoroughly dry with a clean, disposable paper towel to maximize the benefits of handwashing. Research, including a 2018 study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found hand dryers can spread germs throughout a restroom. According to a 2017 survey conducted by Cintas, 69% of surveyed Americans prefer to use paper towels over air dryers in public restrooms. One of the top reasons cited for this preference was that paper towels provide something to open the restroom door with.

For example, after drying, restroom patrons can use the towel on the sink faucet and door handle to avoid transmitting germs onto clean hands. A trashcan next to the restroom exit will give them a convenient place to throw away the used paper towel to avoid unwanted trash spread throughout the facility. Facility managers may want to consider touchless paper towel dispensers that release only one towel at a time to minimize wasted resources and overconsumption.

Consider gentle hygiene products

Increased handwashing can cause various skin reactions such as dryness, irritation, itching, cracking, and—in more extreme cases—bleeding. Soap and sanitizer products formulated with harsh ingredients can make or break the handwashing experience by increasing the risk of skin irritation.

When choosing hand care products, facility managers should consider those that contain skin conditioners instead of harsh chemicals. In facilities that require antibacterial hand cleansers, use antibacterial gel or foaming hand soaps that are formulated with mild ingredients. Facilities such as schools, daycare centers, restaurants, and hotels should invest in moisturizing hand soaps and sanitizers that are gentle for everyday use.

Give a high-five for hand hygiene

As hand hygiene remains a critical step in preventing the spread of germs, facilities must provide products that ease the handwashing process while keeping skin intact. Offering soaps and sanitizers that are mildly formulated with skin conditioners, along with innovative dispensers designed to keep restrooms stocked, can positively affect customer perception and slow the spread of germs throughout facilities.

Source: CMM Online,  CDC, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Businesswire