Sometimes I question the effectiveness of washing my hands after I go to the bathroom. A lot of times there aren’t paper towels so I’m forced to touch a variety of unsanitary things before I even get back to my desk at work.
I still wash my hands, though, and I try to do the awkward open-the-door-with-the-bottom-of-your-palm thing. Other times I try to stick my whole hand through the handle and open the door with my wrist, but this makes me worry that someone will force the door open at the same time, thereby breaking my wrist.
When I see an open door handle I have to make a decision: risk touching a door handle encrusted with fecal molecules, or risk a broken wrist.
Sometimes I use my scarf as a barrier to the handle, but this really bothers me because later in the day I’ll be sitting somewhere and randomly think, “There are microscopic chunks of feces and urine on my scarf. Right now.” Then I frown.
This serious concern about other people’s bodily germs led me to request from the office manager my own personal bottle of hand sanitizer.
Then I started wondering: Is hand sanitizer effective? A cursory Google search told me that if your hands are dry after a few rubs you have not put on enough sanitizer. The article said you should be rubbing your hands for at least 10 seconds with sanitizer comprised of at least 60% alcohol.
About two seconds before I was introduced to one of our company’s affiliates the other day I had put a generous palm full of hand sanitizer on my hand.
He held out his hand for a good ol’ shakin’, and instead of shaking I apologetically said something like, “Sorry, I can’t shake your hand. I’ve just put sanitizer on it.”
I may have inadvertently insulted him and insinuated that he was unclean, but what I really meant was that I didn’t want to get his hands wet from the sanitizer. I’m almost certain he heard me say as such, and if he didn’t see my hands vigorously rubbing together then … hm.
All of this wouldn’t be a problem if everyone would start washing their hands after they do anything in the bathroom. Anything. Unfortunately it appears that most people don’t wash their hands properly.
Walking up to the sink and sticking your hands under water for literally one second does not constitute any kind of a proper wash.
It’s behavior like this that leads the rest of us to bear fecal scarves or become deathly ill from E. coli.