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BLOG & NEWS Helpful Tips to Establish Proper Handwashing Habits

Helpful Tips to Establish Proper Handwashing Habits

Proper hygiene is on everyone’s mind these days because of how easily the COVID-19 virus spreads. One way to help minimize the risk of contracting is to ensure you have an understanding of the right way to wash your hands. Making sure we establish good, hygienic behaviors and getting rid of ineffective ones may be challenging but we’ve put together a list of evidence-based actions that can help you and your loved ones establish effective handwashing habits.

  • Practice Makes Perfect. One way to undo bad handwashing habits is to practice, practice, practice. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds and time yourself with your phone. Make sure to clean the backs, fronts, between the fingers, and fingertips each twice! Do this three more times. Research shows that practicing several times and repeating the same action will help form new habits.
  • Leverage Feelings. Place stickers of germs on door handles or signs above handles that make it clear that they’re dirty. Disgust is a strong feeling and making the invisible visible can elicit those feelings and help you wash your hands more frequently.
  • Use Visual Cues. Did you know providing instruction can improve handwashing? Most people may believe they know how to wash their hands, but evidence of their behaviors point to the contrary. A poster outlining a proper series of steps can serve as a reminder and help individuals understand the best way to clean their hands without missing a step.
  • Reward Yourself. Studies show that providing nice smelling soap can motivate more frequent handwashing behavior. Place a pleasant smelling soap in your bathroom to entice people to wash their hands; it acts as a reward that will increase the chances of individuals washing their hands more regularly.
  • Learn a New Song. Musical mnemonics can help with recalling a series of steps like how to properly hand wash. Learning to sing a favorite tune for 20 seconds while washing your hands could be the trick to ensuring proper handwashing hygiene.

About The Centene Center for Health Transformation

The Centene Center for Health Transformation™ is a community-corporate-academic healthcare partnership that advances life-centric health research to improve lives so that communities can thrive. For more information regarding the Centene Center for Health Transformation, visit https://www.centenecenter.wustl.edu.

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