This is *exactly* how long to wash your hands to scrub away germs

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Photo: Getty Images/Jay Yuno

It’s a question as old as time: How long do you actually need to wash your hands after going to the bathroom? For some people (i.e., a lot), the answer is they simply don’t do it. (Yuck!) For others, it’s a quick splash with soap and water. For others still, it’s as long as it takes to mentally go through the day’s to-do list. But to kick germs to the curb, you just need to sing a little song.

A short scrub to wash up just doesn’t to cut it. A 2013 study from Michigan State University found that only 5 percent of people wash their hands long enough to kill germs after using the restroom, and that’s risky behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says proper hand washing is key to fending off illnesses and infections caused by salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus. It also ensures you don’t spread germs to others.

It takes just little bit longer (seconds, really!) to wash your hands properly.  If you’ve just used the bathroom or taken out the garbage, or if you’re about to eat, the rule is the same: You need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.  Don’t forget to wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Using warm water isn’t necessary, but most people wash for longer if the temperature is pleasant. To time it out, sing the Alphabet song, which lasta bout 20 seconds. (You could sing “Happy Birthday” twice instead.) After you’re finished singing, rinse your hands and dry them off.

The bottom line: Please wash your hands after using the bathroom. Please?

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