The best way to rid your hands of germs is by simply washing with soap and water, a new University of North Carolina study finds. Researchers compared the effectiveness of 14 hand hygiene agents, including anti-bacterial gels and hand wipes, against specific bacteria and viruses. Soap and water proved the most effective at removing the germs.
The most important part of hand washing is rubbing your soapy hands together. That friction is the part that lifts the bacteria and germs and dirt off of your hands. Experts recommend 15 to 20 seconds of rubbing when hand washing. A good way to judge the time is to recite the alphabet or sing 'Happy Birthday to You'. Wash your hands whenever you think you've exposed them to bacteria or viruses. Some examples include: after you cough or sneeze into them, after you use the bathroom, after touching the escalator's railing or after handling money.