Hand Washing: You’re Still Not Doing It Right

Hands with lather on themThe next time you reach out to shake someone’s hand, consider this finding: A recent study of hand-washing habits found only 5 percent of people who used the restroom scrubbed long enough to kill germs that can cause infections.

Thirty-three percent didn’t use soap, and 10 percent didn’t wash their hands at all, according to the study, based on Michigan State University researchers’ observations of more than 3,700 people in a college town’s public restrooms.

“These findings were surprising to us because past research suggested that proper hand washing is occurring at a much higher rate,” lead investigator Carl Borchgrevink, an associate professor of hospitality business, said in a university news release.

Among the other findings:

Men were less likely than women to clean their hands. Fifteen percent of men and 7 percent of women didn’t wash their hands at all. When they did wash their hands, only 50 percent of men used soap, compared with 78 percent of women.