If you have been scouring the net for tips or articles on hand washing for the last couple of months, you should have seen an article or two from official sites/medical establishments on the seemingly authoritative ruling that requires washing of hands for at least 20 seconds to be effective. However, there seems to be also an official statement by the biggest bigwig of them all, WHO, whom has declared publicly that it should be instead, about 40 – 60 seconds. So now you must be wondering. Who exactly is speaking the truth and what should be the golden ratio for every wash to clean your hands thoroughly?
And the answer to the above question?
None of the above.
And there is no golden ratio so to speak of..
Experts in food safety research have lately came out and reportedly refuse to take sides with either of both camps. They have instead concur that the time taken, although it does makes a difference, was not as significant as to what you used with for the washing process.
They further explained that this lies in the fact of the sheer numbers of microbes that could be found on our hands, which could easily run into million of counts. As a result, it’s in their opinion that the act of washing is in actual fact a bid to reduce and not to have them 100% removed. In line with the same thought, they conclude that to have a marginal impact when dealing with near infinite numbers, the time taken would not have garner enough strength for a useful debate as compared to the latter.
Focusing on the variable that has a more significant impact, the experts advocate that in place of washing with plain water, the general public should, as much as possible, use soap and water in their everyday washing and cleaning. This will reduce the microorganism counts significantly and hence achieving maximum potential in the act of hand washing.