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UV pictures shows why a 30-second hand-washing with soap is a must

14:30 | 18/03/2020

How long test is an effective handwashing technique, Good Health used a special UV camera for testing — from a quick 'rinse and shake' to more than the advised 20 seconds found out. 

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Accordingly, the participants are asked to rub their hands o Glo Germ gel, which simulates how germs cling to your skin. The gel is clear but glows under UV light and contains particles the same size as germs such as coronavirus. The whiter the hands in these pictures, the dirtier they are — and the darker they are, the cleaner.

uv pictures shows why a 30 second hand washing with soap is a must

Before washing your hands germs on the hands show up as white underneath a UV light (Photo: Cream Magazine)

uv pictures shows why a 30 second hand washing with soap is a must

QUICK RINSE AND SHAKE: Research suggests that up to a quarter of us only briefly rinse our hands, but as this picture shows, that is not enough. The rinse and shake doesn't achieve much; after running your hands under the tap for three seconds, hands show up as glowing white under the camera — suggesting most of the germs have been left there. (Photo: Cream Magazine)

uv pictures shows why a 30 second hand washing with soap is a must

SIX-SECOND WASH — NO SOAP: Six seconds is the average length of time people spend washing their hands. But this is not long enough to remove germs effectively — there is still a high concentration on the backs, around the wedding ring and under the fingernails. Washing the hands for slightly longer has reduced the white areas compared with rinse and shake — no doubt because this time the hands have been dried with a towel. And damp hands transfer germs much more easily so drying them is key. (Photo: Cream Magazine)

uv pictures shows why a 30 second hand washing with soap is a must

SIX-SECOND WASH WITH SOAP: The most important part of hand washing is using soap — it's sticky, so you have to wash it off. Soap doesn't kill bacteria, it gets rid of them: one end of the soap molecule attaches to water while the other end attaches to dirt (which is where the germs will be). Lathering with soap also enhances the rubbing action. Hygiene expert Lisa Ackerley said: 'Scrub the fingertips against your palms to clean under the nails'. (Photo: Cream Magazine)

uv pictures shows why a 30 second hand washing with soap is a must

20 SECONDS WITH SOAP: Around 20 seconds is roughly how long you should wash for, according to the NHS. As you can see from the picture, there are far fewer white areas than with the typical six-second wash. The only white areas are the crescents around the cuticles, a patch on the side of the thumb and a streak on the top of the little finger. 'You need that time to clean all the little bits of your hands,' said hygiene expert Lisa Ackerley. (Photo: Cream Magazine)

uv pictures shows why a 30 second hand washing with soap is a must
30 SECONDS WITH SOAP: The Centres For Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. suggests washing for up to 30 seconds. There is a visible difference — there are even fewer white areas. The crescents of germs around the cuticles in the 20-second picture have all but gone — though amazingly, there is still a trace. So should you be washing for longer? It could remove the rest of the germs, but 'it's getting rid of the majority that matters', Dr Val Curtis, a public health expert at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said. (Photo: Cream Magazine)

The World Health Organization's instruction on proper hand-washing

  • Clean your hands regularly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Use alcohol-based handrub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.
uv pictures shows why a 30 second hand washing with soap is a must
According to WHO, washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing "Happy birthday" twice (Photo: WHO)
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Cream Magazine/ WHO/ Business Insider