Everyone knows that hand washing is important but there were quite a few things about this daily staple that I didn't know...until now!
1) How the soap and water work together
I knew that whenever I thought about washing my hands I thought "soap and water" but I never knew how this duo worked together. I had always thought that it was just about the soap killing the germs, what I learned was that it's the combination of them that makes it work. Hand washing is effective because it physically REMOVES the germs from your skin. The soap acts to reduce the surface tension of the water allowing it to do it's job of washing things off the skin. The soap also helps the water get a hold of grease to break it up and wash it away. So it's not so much about the type of soap you're using as much it is about how hard you work to break those germs free from your skin and remove them. Even the drying off process is important!
2) SOMETIMES THE SOAP MAKES THINGs WORSE
Sorry germaphobes, not all soap is clean! Stored incorrectly, the soap can actually put more germs on your hands than you already had. So, if that bar of soap is sitting in a puddle of water next to the sink, think twice before picking it up. It can actually increase the amount of bacteria on your hands. Dispensers of liquid soap can work but are better if they are sealed as opposed to the refillable type.
3) THe important areas aren't what you thought
I always thought that the most important, and dirtiest parts, of my hands where the palms. Turns out the dirtiest parts of your hands are your fingertips and around your nails, especially on your dominant hand. However it's been found that right-handed people tend to wash their left hand more throughly. Lesson learned, when you wash give those fingers and tips some extra attention and make sure both hands get equal time!