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July 2021

5 replies to common excuses why people don't wash their hands

Written by Bakang Kganyago
Cleanliness and Hygiene, Bathroom Hygiene, Handwashing and Hand Hygiene

Sadly, despite the global pandemic, handwashing still isn't as universal after a bathroom break as it should be! With winter at our doorstep here are some of the more common excuses people make about washing their hands, and how to respond to them.

The 5 common reasons people do not wash their hands:
Reasons why people don't wash their hands

1. My hands are not visibly dirty

This is one excuse I used quite a lot when I was still a child. It is common because we often associate dirty hands with actual visible dirt as seen on the image of our blog. However, as we know now, especially with all the education that came with the pandemic, dirty hands go beyond what we can see and it is often the invisible germs that end up making us fall ill. This is why we always recommend either washing your hands often or sanitising them.

2. It takes too long  to wash hands properly

We at Initial often say that the proper way to wash your hands is to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice (30 seconds) while using the proper handwashing techniques. Admittedly, that may seem long at first, but when you get the hang of it becomes second nature, much like waiting for the kettle to boil or waiting for the traffic light to turn green - it becomes part of daily routine

3. It’s winter I’ll catch a cold if I wash my hands too often

On the contrary, washing your hands during winter may help prevent catching viruses such as the flu. This is because as we know the spread of flu is more prevalent during colder seasons and our hands are, through cross-contamination, are the vehicles viruses use to spread and infect us, fun fact 80% of diseases can be spread by touch - did you also know the flu virus can survive on surfaces between 24 to 48 hours on hard surfaces.

Initial provides hand and surface sanitisers that you can use to disinfect surfaces that you think could be contaminated, I personally tend to use it on the area in which I work such as my desk and other high contact surfaces - did you know the average office desk has 400 times more bacteria on it than a toilet seat.

4. My hands are clean, I rinsed them with water

Although water removes visible dirt on our hands, it does not effectively remove viruses and bacteria. I'd only advise doing so if you don’t have access to soap or a hand sanitiser. According to the CDC, for water to be able to kill germs the water would need to be hot enough to scold your hands! (this is NOT recommended). 

5. I washed my hands not too long ago

The ‘pièce de résistance’ of excuses, I’ve admittedly been guilty of using this one often but believe that we should all work towards getting out of the habit of using it, especially with the situation we find ourselves under as the pandemic is still quite prevalent. Remember that all it takes is for us to come into contact with one contaminated surface for us to potentially fall ill or spread the virus. My solution to this is to try to wash your hands as often as you can and always have a hand sanitiser with you for those moments where you think “I washed my hands not too long ago”



The key takeaway from this list is that it is important for proper hand hygiene solutions to be set up wherever you may be, business or home, and good hand hygiene habits to be practised, with a little repetition they’ll become second nature to us and hopefully, there won’t be a need to make excuses :).

To help you instill good hand hygiene practices in your home and business, download our Ulitmate Guide to Hand Hygiene - it is packed with tips, facts, information, and posters. 

Download Hand Hygiene Guide

Downloaded the guide already? You might also be interested in learning more about what is in your hand sanitiser. Happy reading, and keep safe!

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang is a Digital Marketing Executive for Rentokil Initial. A germaphobe at heart, he's passionate about learning and sharing insights on how to defeat the enemy we cannot see. Join his journey as he writes about the impact of germs in our daily lives.

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