Amanda Pendolino
June 11, 2013

Gross! 95 Percent of People Wash Their Hands Incorrectly or Not At All

So, it turns out you’ve probably been washing your hands wrong your whole life. Oh, and even better: so has everyone else.

According to a new study, a whopping 95 percent of people wash their hands incorrectly. The CDC says in order to wash your hands properly, you need to use soap, scrub well (including the backs of your hands and in all the little crevices) for at least 20 seconds and dry your hands afterwards.

You should wash your hands long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Twice!

Researchers from Michigan State observed the hand washing habits of 3,749 people as they left the bathroom, and found some dirty stats: only 66.9 percent used soap, 23 percent only wet their hands, and 10.3 percent didn’t wash their hands at all. (10.3 percent of humans, you’re gross!)

Only 5.3 percent met the CDC guidelines and spent more than 15 seconds washing their hands; the average time spent scrubbing was six seconds.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that 77.9 percent of women used soap, while only 50.3 percent of men did. Dr. Oz has found about a quarter of men don’t think they need to wash their hands after going to the bathroom if they only go number one — but they do! Plenty of germs are hanging out in those pants.  Another study found men are more likely to wash their hands if they see a sign reminding them to do so — so perhaps a tacky bathroom sign is worth putting in your home!

The CDC states washing your hands “is the most effective thing one can do to reduce the spread of infectious disease.”

Come on, people. Get scrubbing!