Protect the Health of Your Employees and Customers: National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Handwashing Awareness Week is from December 1 – 7! The purpose of this observance is to educate the public on the importance of good hand hygiene and proper cleansing techniques. Keeping your hands clean is one of the best things you can do for your personal health, the health of others, and the health of your business. Washing your hands regularly helps prevent the spread of bacteria, germs and viruses. 

Handwashing has always been crucial, but it has taken on more importance since the onset of COVID-19. As young as 2 years old, we are taught how to wash our hands, but it never hurts to refresh on best practices. Here are the 5 steps to get clean hands according to the CDC: 

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap. 
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Make sure to get the backs of your hands, before your fingers, and under your nails. 
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. For a quick timer, hum the “Happy Birthday’ song from beginning to end (twice), or come up with your own catchy 20 second song. 
  4. Rinse your hands under clean, running water to remove the soap. 
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
CDC Handwashing graphic

Maybe your go-to 20 second song is the standard “Happy Birthday” or your favorite throwback (i.e. The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way”). Perhaps you came up with your own tune like ​​preschool director Annely Carver’s “Corona Rap”). If you are in need of a handwashing playlist, here are 20 songs with a chorus that is a minimum of 20 seconds.

A few reasons why handwashing is essential: 
  • Bacteria from unwashed hands can infiltrate food and drinks, traveling from meals to our bodies.  
  • We often touch our eyes, nose and mouth without even knowing it, but this is a key entry point for unwanted germs. 
  • Unwashed hands also allow germs to spread onto surfaces like handrails, tabletops, and door knobs.
It is equally important to understand when to wash your hands.

Key instances for when you should be washing your hands, according to the CDC:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food 
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the restroom 
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up after someone who has used to the toilet 
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • After spending time outside 
  • After touching animals or their crates 
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage 
  • When your hands look dirty

With workflow automation tools like Squadle’s customizable digital checklists, your business can hold staff accountable with specific hand washing reminders that alert staff to wash their hands. Handwashing is not only imperative on a personal level but also from a business standpoint, especially in the food industry. Prevent the spread of sickness at your restaurant, grocery, or c-store by encouraging proper handwashing among employees and guests. Squadle created an aesthetically pleasing yet informative handwashing poster–free for you to download and post around your business. Click here to download your free printable poster today! 

In Squadle’s Ultimate Guide to Digital Food Safety, you can learn more about how to prioritize food safety and efficiency.