“Antimicrobial chemicals are so ubiquitous that a recent study found them in pregnant mothers’ urine and newborns’ cord blood. Research shows that their risks may outweigh their benefits.” The Atlantic Online. JULIE BECKAUG 12 2014, 10:34 AM ET

Recently, many scientists have discussed the potential benefits and risks of reducing the volume of antibiotic material used in the US and around the globe. As more antibiotic resistant bacteria develop and challenge the growing global population, it is important to find ways to maintain proper sanitation and hygiene without relying exclusively upon chemical solutions. One solution is to recall the basic principles of handwashing with regular soap and warm water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (think Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.”

When is the best time to wash hands? Follow these easy guidelines to help prevent the spread of germs:*

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

How should you wash your hands? Follow these easy directions for the best results:*

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

*http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html, Retrieved 13AUG14.