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Five Easy Ways to Establish Proper Handwashing Behaviors

Date: 09/01/20

Good hygiene is on everyone’s mind these days because of how easily coronavirus can spread. One way to help minimize the risk of contracting the disease is to wash your hands frequently-and correctly. To help you and your family establish positive handwashing behaviors to ensure you and your loved ones create handwashing habits to keep you safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Practice Makes Perfect. One way to undo bad handwashing habits is to practice, practice, practice. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Make sure to clean the backs, fronts, between the fingers, and fingertips three times. Research shows that practicing several times and repeating the same action will help form new habits.

Leverage Feelings. Place images of germs on door handles or signs above handles that make it clear that they’re dirty. Disgust is a strong feeling and making the invisible visible can elicit those feelings and help you wash your hands more frequently.

Use Visual Cues. Did you know providing instruction can improve handwashing? Most people may believe they know how to wash their hands, but evidence of their behaviors point to the contrary. A poster showing the proper series of steps can serve as a reminder and help individuals understand the best way to clean their hands without missing a step.

Reward Yourself. Studies show that providing nice smelling soap can motivate more frequent handwashing behavior. Place a pleasant smelling soap in your bathroom to entice people to wash their hands; it acts as a reward that will encourage more frequent handwashing.

Learn a New Song. Musical mnemonics can help with recalling a series of steps like how to properly hand wash. Teach your kids to wash to one of their favorite songs that lasts at least 20 seconds. Making frequent washing fun and interactive is a great trick to ensuring proper handwashing hygiene.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Please always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Programs and services are subject to change. Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, LLC. The MHN companies include Managed Health Network and MHN Services, LLC. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, LLC or its affiliates. All rights reserved.