Get scrubbin’

Pointers for handwashing—the single best way to avoid getting sick

Not to freak you out, but every surface you touch is potentially laden with bacteria that can make you sick—especially this time of year. But if you wash your hands regularly, the germs won’t stand a chance. Here’s how to do it right:

Take your time. Lather up and rub all surfaces of your hands together for at least 20 seconds—about the time it takes to sing two verses of “Happy Birthday.”

Don’t sweat the temperature. Whether the water is hot or cold has little effect on reducing bacteria.

Dry your hands completely. The act of drying your hands wipes away bacteria, but it’s debatable whether using paper or cloth towels is better than an air-dryer. Just make sure they’re fully dry—wet hands are more likely to pick up bacteria from the next surface you touch.

Skip anti-bacterial soap. Regular soap and water is all you need.