Why Handwashing Is So Important for Your Health

Maintaining good hand hygiene is a practice that plays a key role in safeguarding your health. The simple act of handwashing acts as a barrier against numerous infections and diseases, preventing their transmission. As a result, it protects your health. In today’s fast-paced world, where we come into contact with various surfaces and interact with people daily, understanding the importance of handwashing cannot be overstated.

The science of handwashing

Handwashing stands as a cornerstone of disease prevention due to its remarkable ability to break the chain of infection transmission. Our hands are veritable breeding grounds for microorganisms, harbouring bacteria and viruses that we unknowingly pick up from surfaces we touch.

Proper handwashing disrupts this cycle by mechanically removing pathogens, dirt, and other contaminants from our hands. The use of soap enhances this process by breaking down the membranes of viruses and destroying the structure of bacteria. As such, the combined action of friction, soap, and water effectively rids our hands of potential health threats.

Guarding against respiratory diseases

The significance of hand hygiene becomes particularly evident when considering the prevalence of respiratory illnesses. Many diseases, including the common cold, and influenza, spread through droplets that end up on various surfaces and survive for hours or even days.

When we come into contact with these surfaces and then touch our faces, we provide an entry point for these pathogens into our bodies. Regular and thorough handwashing acts as a barrier, preventing the transfer of these pathogens from our hands to our respiratory systems.

Stopping the chain of food contamination

Proper handwashing practices are particularly crucial when it comes to food. Food handlers come into close contact with ingredients and utensils that will be consumed by others. Failing to wash hands effectively after handling raw meats, for instance, can introduce harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli to the food. By adhering to rigorous handwashing routines, food handlers can break the chain of contamination and ensure that meals are safe for consumption.

The ripple effect of proper hygiene for food extends beyond individual health and safety, reaching the broader community. Handwashing can prevent widespread outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, thereby alleviating the burden on healthcare systems and sparing countless individuals from suffering.

Teaching children hygiene

Instilling the habit of handwashing early in life is crucial. Children, with their innate curiosity, tend to touch various surfaces and then transfer germs to their mouths, making them susceptible to infections.

By teaching children the importance of handwashing in a fun and interactive manner, we equip them with a valuable tool for maintaining their health throughout their lives. Simple, memorable rhymes or songs that last for the duration of a proper hand wash can turn the act into a habit.

Drying hands after washing

While the focus often remains on handwashing, the method of hand drying also contributes to overall hygiene. Hand dryers in public restrooms offer an effective alternative to paper towels.

Properly functioning bathroom hand dryers eliminate the need to touch potentially contaminated surfaces, reducing the risk of recontaminating hands after washing. However, the effectiveness of hand dryers depends on their design and airspeed; high-speed, jet-style dryers have been shown to effectively remove moisture and bacteria from hands.

Proper handwashing technique

While the importance of handwashing is evident, the effectiveness lies in the technique. Proper handwashing involves more than just a quick rinse under water. Using soap and water and scrubbing every part of the hand for roughly 20 seconds is essential.

This action breaks down the protective barriers of microorganisms and allows the soap to lift them away from the skin’s surface, ensuring a thorough cleanse. Regularity in practising this technique, especially before meals and after being in public spaces, significantly reduces the risk of falling victim to infections.


The act of handwashing transcends the realm of cleanliness—it is a fundamental pillar of public health. Regular and proper handwashing can shield us from a host of illnesses and contribute to the well-being of our communities. From childhood education to the role of hand dryers, handwashing’s importance is undeniable. By embracing this practice and encouraging others to do the same, we pave the way for healthier lives and a stronger society.