A person should wash his or her hands for approximately 20 seconds, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In order to roughly estimate the recommended amount of time, the CDC advises humming the “Happy Birthday” song two times while scrubbing the hands and fingernails before rinsing. Only approximately 5% of people wash their hands for the recommended time, according to a 2013 Michigan State University study of hand washing habits in public restrooms. The average length of time people spend washing their hands falls short of the CDC’s recommended 20 seconds, at approximately six seconds.
More about hand washing:
- 10% of people don’t wash their hands at all after using public restrooms.
- Diarrheal disease is one of the top causes of death in children under five, accounting for over 2 million deaths each year. However, this number could be reduced by around 31% if everyone washed their hands properly, according to the CDC.
- Men are two and a half times more likely to skip washing their hands than women, as reported by Bradley Corp’s 2013 Healthy Handwashing Survey.