Here's How You're Washing Your Hands All Wrong

Apparently 97 percent of Americans don't know how to properly clean up.

There are some things that you learn as a kid, like riding a bicycle or tying your shoes, that you never forget how to do well. And then there are other basic skills, like brushing your teeth or washing your hands, where you sort of let your best practices slide as an adult.

According to a concerning new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 97 percent of Americans are failing to properly wash their hands, leading to the cross-contamination of food and foodborne illness.

As a reminder, you're supposed to wash your hands with soap for a full twenty seconds and then dry them off with a clean towel. Most people, it seems, are just rinsing them off quickly, shaking off the water, and letting their hands air-dry, which is no good. As much as you might think you're helping out the environment, some experts advise against using bathroom hand dryers as well, since studies have shown that they suck up the bathroom's fecal bacteria and blow it back out onto your hands.

"As a mother of three young children, I am very familiar with the mad dash families go through to put dinner on the table," Carmen Rottenberg, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA, said in the release. "You can't see, smell or feel bacteria. By simply washing your hands properly, you can protect your family and prevent that bacteria from contaminating your food and key areas in your kitchen."

The study also found that 66 percent of people don't use a food thermometer to cook their burgers. Of those who do, nearly half still don't cook it to the safe minimum internal temperature, which for the record is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. With July 4th around the corner, it's a good thing to keep in mind.

"With grilling season upon us, USDA is reminding consumers to use a food thermometer and cook meat and poultry products to the recommended safe internal temperatures. When cooking meat and poultry patties, insert the thermometer through the side of the patty until the probe reaches the center of the patty," the study notes. And for some more amazing household tips, here are 27 Genius Ways to Clean Your House Like a Pro Housekeeper.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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