10 Reasons Why Washing Your Hands Is So Important During The COVID-19 Outbreak

It is important to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Washing your hands is always a good thing to do. Now, more than ever, however, it has risen from being a recommended habit to partake in, to being something that you really must do.

The coronavirus now circling the globe, or COVID-19, has no known cure as of yet, and so a good amount of soap and water is your only real defence when facing it. 

Here are ten reasons why you should be washing your hands frequently throughout the pandemic.

10. COVID-19 Has No Cure

Severe cases of COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia, and there is no cure. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

As was just stated, this coronavirus has no known cure. Most who fall sick with it will recover, but some people, often the elderly, do die. People with pre-existing conditions and compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to this virus. When it becomes severe, COVID-19 causes pneumonia in the lungs that does not respond to antibiotics.

9. Rubbing Your Hands on a Towel Will Not Suffice

Rubbing your hands on a towel will not get rid of COVID-19. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

You may feel that rubbing your hands on your jacket or pants after touching surfaces or blowing your nose will do the trick, but it will not. This will not remove the virus from your hands. Scrubbing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of twenty seconds is what is needed to remove the dirt and germs from your hands.

8. Hand Sanitizer is a Good Option, but Soap and Water is Better

You need to use sanitizer that is at least 60% to 70% alcohol-based to kill COVID-19.

Some hand sanitizers work to kill the germs that may be resting on your hands. Not all do, however. In order to kill off the coronavirus, you need to ensure you use sanitizer that is at least 60% to 70% alcohol-based. 

Soap works at eliminating the virus from your hands, should it be there, because the coronavirus molecules are enveloped in a fatty layer. This fat will not mix with water, but when soap hits it, it pulls the fatty layer apart, as soap does with all fats and oils. This destroys the coronavirus molecules, which you then scrub off your hands and rinse down the drain. It’s a done deal. According to, hand sanitizer is good to use, but soap and water are slightly more effective because of the need to scrub and rinse.

7. The Novel Coronavirus Can Survive for Multiple Days on Some Surfaces

COVID-19 can survive on hard surfaces. Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

A CDC report found evidence of the coronavirus on surfaces inside the infected cruise Princess Cruise ship seventeen days after it had been vacated of COVID-19 infected passengers. This does not mean that the virus can stay alive and is transmittable on those surfaces for that length of time, however. It simply means that pieces of the virus’ RNA, or genetic material, were detected on the ship after over two weeks of being empty. 

The coronavirus can, however, survive for a while on various surfaces, making frequent handwashing an imperative. Have you used your debit card at the grocery store recently? Have you opened a new bag of chips? Remember, someone else has touched the store’s card reader recently and handled that package to put those chips on the shelf. 

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, is detectable for up to three days on plastic and stainless steel, about one day on cardboard, and about four hours on copper. These results were obtained in a lab setting, however, and how the virus fares in the real world is harder to know.

6. People Frequently Touch Their Eyes, Nose, and Face

Wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

One of the easiest ways to catch COVID-19 is by touching your face after touching an infected surface or person. Avoiding doing so can be hard. According to a study done in New South Wales, on average people touch their faces about 23 times each hour. This, alone, makes washing your hands frequently a great idea.

5. You Cannot Control What Others Do

Others may not take COVID-19 seriously, so you have to be extra vigilant. Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Even if you feel confident in your ability to avoid touching your face, you cannot control the actions of others. If you do come in contact with the virus and you do not wash your hands, you could risk spreading it to someone else.

4. Washing Can Help Protect You From Catching Something Besides COVID-19

Washing your hands can protect you from many diseases, not just COVID-19. Photo by Mélissa Jeanty on Unsplash

Obviously, COVID-19 is not the only germ out there. This is not the time to need hospitalization for some other ailment that you may come down with.

According to the CDC, washing your hands can help reduce diarrheal illness in people with compromised immune systems by almost 60%. It also helps to battle the rise of antibiotic resistance. Washing the germs down the drain helps prevent people from getting sick with germs that are already antibiotic-resistant, and therefore difficult to treat. This is the time to keep yourself and others healthy. 

3. You are Protecting Not Only Yourself, but Other People Around You

Washing your hands ensures that you do not pass COVID-19 on to anyone. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The coronavirus is moving through North America by community spread with ease. This means that people who are infected are not staying home or practicing social distancing. The virus is spreading from person to person on North American soil. 

You may easily be infected with COVID-19 and not know it. Those who are healthy and younger sometimes do not have any symptoms. Washing your hands ensures that you do not pass anything onto anyone else.

2. A Vaccine to Treat COVID-19 is Coming, But Not For a Long Time

You have to wash your hands because a vaccine isn't ready yet. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The only thing that can ultimately stop COVID-19 in its tracks, besides everyone staying home and never interacting at all, is a vaccine to treat it. A vaccine is currently being worked on by 35 companies and organizations worldwide, but it could likely take over a year to reach the public.

1. You Are Not Invincible

No one is immune to COVID-19. Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

You are not a Princess of Power. Nor are you Captain America. Plainly put, none of us can know until we are infected how we will fare against the coronavirus. You are a human, and this virus loves that you are not invincible. Fight it off at the sink. 

About the Author

A prior educator with a background in the arts, Victoria Simpson has a passion for communicating her ideas through writing. You can find her picture book, Eating I Forget, on Amazon. Her articles and webcopy have been published on countless websites including, Autoguide, eBay, Digital Home and Iremia Skincare, among others. She is now excited to be contributing to World Atlas. 


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