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Hand-Washing Technique Is Surprisingly Controversial

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/20-seconds-30-seconds-45-seconds-how-long-should-you-wash-your-hands/

fivethirtyeight.com

Hand-Washing Technique Is Surprisingly Controversial
Don Schaffner wants you to understand that your hands are never going to be clean. He should know - over the past 20 years, he has published multiple research papers investigating the minutia of hand-washing. (Work that is extremely relevant to the public interest all of a sudden.)

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Your hands are never going to be clean

Your hands are never going to be clean

There are just too many things living on our hands to wash all of them off.
Killing all the microbes on your hands has never even been the point of hand-washing. The point is to get as big a reduction in microbes as possible while balancing that effort with the demands of real life.

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The numerical oddities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to wash your hands for 20 seconds. The World Health Organization says hand-washing should take 40 to 60 seconds. And it's complicated to determine who is right.
The optimal length of time for hand-washing is likely to depend on many factors, including the type and amount of dirt on the hands and the setting of the person washing hands (temperature of water, washing technique, the type of soap, etc.)

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Logarithmic reduction

Food safety researchers have to think in orders of magnitude, by necessity. Instead of aiming to completely wipe out a population of microbes, they’re trying to achieve a relative decrease as measured in orders of 10.
A 1-log reduction would be a 10-fold decrease — so, 90 percent fewer germs. A 2-log reduction is a 100-fold decrease — so 99 percent fewer germs — and 3-log is 1,000 times less, or 99.9 percent fewer. You get the picture.

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Stop touching your face

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