1. Use at least 20 seconds when washing your hands.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reiterated that your hands are not clean until you have washed them for a minimum of 20 seconds. This is backed up by numerous research studies that have shown that shorter periods of washing don't effectively remove all germs.
2. You MUST use soap
Washing your hands with just water doesn't count at all. While you may feel that it's clean and fresh from the cool breeze, it is far from it.
Yet again, the CDC says that soaps, which generally contain surfactants, effectively remove dirt and microbes from your hands. Also, when compared to washing with just water, you scrub your hands more when you add soap.
So, wet your hands, add soap and scrub away.
3. Make sure you don't miss a spot!
There are a few parts of the hands that you are likely to leave untouched when washing your hands. This includes the areas between your fingers, the backs of your hands, and under your nails.
From now on, make sure you target these areas because they can harbour just as many germs – if not more – like the other more commonly targeted areas, e.g. the palm.
4. Always dry your hands after a wash
The finishing touch to proper handwashing techniques is drying your hands with a clean towel or any other method. According to the CDC, a dry hand is less likely to harbour germs than a wet one.
So, if you don't thoroughly dry your hands after washing, you are creating the perfect environment for germs to attach to.
5. Clean your hand towels regularly
As mentioned above, you must dry your hands. The most available method for this is drying them with a towel.
Such wet towels can be a breeding ground for germs, thus the need for them to be cleaned regularly. If you don't, then you altogether abolish the aims of practicing good hand hygiene.
6. Don't always rely on hand sanitizers
Rubbing a sanitizer over your hands does not beat a thorough scrubbing with soap and water. Most hand sanitizers kill at least 60% of germs, and so shouldn't be made a replacement for soap and water.
Instead, they should be used for times you can't reach a sink for a proper scrub.
7. Regularly disinfect your doorknobs and faucets
Proper hand hygiene doesn't end at the time you rinse your hands after scrubbing. You must avoid dirty surfaces that may contaminate your hands; some of these are small surfaces like doorknobs and faucets that are consistently ignored.
This is why you should continuously disinfect them. When you are in a public restroom, use toilet tissue to protect your hands before touching!