How often do you REALLY wash your hands? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 04:33 AM
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I'm not a germaphobe or anything, but I wash my hands quite a bit, in fact, so often sometimes that I have really dry skin:

after a poo - mine or either kid (after my own pee, if my hands don't actually touch the pee, I just rinse)
after coming home from errands
after touching raw meat, or anything that might have come into contact with raw meat, like the inside of my kitchen sink
any body fluid of a person who is sick

We don't get sick that often, and I refuse to use antibacterial anything, or hand sanitizer except in an emergency situation.

We also have severe food allergies in my house, so I make the kids wash their hands with soap and water when they come home if they've touched anything, like communal toys, shopping carts, etc.

All the said, my DH hardly ever washes his hands, and only ever uses soap if he thinks I'm looking, but then again, he's not the one changing poo diapers either. He hardly ever gets sick.

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#62 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 04:39 AM
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I wash my hands way to much. I'll even wash them while I am doing the dishes where there is already soap and water involved. I always use soap when I wash my hands but I don't always wash the top of my hands with soap.

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#63 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 09:19 AM
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I wash my hands a lot and honestly, it skeeves me out to see how many don't wash much at all.

About half the time I wash to remove germs. That happens after I go to the bathroom (poo or pee, every single time), change diapers, and before and during food prep.

The other half of the time I wash to remove dirt. I wash my hands after opening the mail because a lot of the time it's dusty. I wash my hands after eating because I don't like my hands to smell like food. Stuff like that. I guess I just consider stuff to be "dirtier" than a lot of you. . not dirtier because of germs, but because of dirt!

For the person who mentioned washing hands after pumping gas. . .I absolutely do. Not because I'm afraid of the germs I came into contact, but because I don't want gasoline residue being absorbed into my skin! Hand sanitizer does nothing for this situation. . because then all you have is sterile gasoline, which is absorbing into your skin just the same. That's pretty much the main reason I don't use hand sanitizer ever, because it does nothing to actually remove dirt, it just slushes it around.

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#64 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 09:51 AM
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I will admit, I am not a huge hand washer. For me, its after bathroom, or changing a poopy diaper. If I am handling raw meat or eggs, and generally before I start to cook. Sometimes my hands just feel like they need to be washed, and I will do that, too. I dont think about washing my hands before I eat.
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#65 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 12:07 PM
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Our family rule is that a good washing is required whenever you first come in the house. (from school, friends, library, store, playground, etc.)

Then at all the usual times- bathroom needs, cooking, etc.

Plus whenever they are "dirty"- playdo, glue, sawdust, etc.

Then the right before bed wash up if they didn't shower/bathe.

I don't wash after I pee at home most times but my kids don't know that!

With two toddlers who require full assistance with handwashing I feel like I wash about a zillion sets of hands a day!

Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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#66 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 03:13 PM
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I usually wash my hands if there is visible poop on them and always after cleaning the litter box or using a public restroom. Those are the only times though.

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#67 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 10:01 PM
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I'm kind of like Crazydiamond....I often wash to remove dirt and other things. At work, I'm not so much afraid of germs as I am afraid of getting tomato sauce on my all-white uniform. I don't like my hands to retain odors, either.

In regards to's only sterile if the person is healthy. Someone suffering from a UTI can most certainly pass bacteria through their urine. Mostly E Coli.

I find it somewhat humorous that there's this thread, where handwashing is seen as over-the-top by some, and another thread where some people freak out if you wear your shoes in their house. :-)
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#68 of 73 Old 12-12-2008, 10:31 PM
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I wash after pooping or changing a poopy diaper, after I knead bread or do anything else messy with my hands, after I handle raw meat or eggs, and whenever my hands are sticky or noticeably dirty. I use castille soap and hot water. I don't use hand sanitizer or anything like that, or antibacterial anything. Oh, and if I scoop the cat litter box, and when I've been gardening. But sometimes I forget. I'm really not too worried about washing often. The only time I'm fanatical about hand washing is when someone in the house has a gastrointestinal virus, but that's because I have a chronic illness; an intestinal virus is a very serious thing for me, plus I take a medication that suppresses my immune system.

I think it's bad to wash too much. Dry, cracked skin is not healthy. The oils in your skin, and an INTACT skin, are your best protection against germs, anyway.

It's also not healthy to be too clean. Those antibacterial soaps and stuff don't just kill dangerous bacteria. They kill ALL of them. Our bodies are meant to be colonized with bacteria. It's natural and normal and healthy. Reasonable precautions against obvious sources of infection like feces and raw animal products-- I get that. But some people go too far. Our bodies are very able to protect us from the small ordinary exposures we get every day. And germs don't live very long on a hard, dry surface, so handwashing after opening mail makes not a lick of sense to me. But if it makes you feel better, go ahead.

I don't pump gas. There is no self-service gas pumping in NJ. But if I did, I might wash. That makes sense to me.

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#69 of 73 Old 12-13-2008, 02:21 AM
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I wash after using the washroom, changing a diaper, wiping a bum. I don't get up to use the washroom at night so cannot answer for that part. If I did I might or I might not. Depends on how awake I am.

Before preparing food and usually several times during meal preparation.

After coming home from a public place and after using household cleaning products.
As well as after many other activities during the day like taking out the garbage, rolling coins , etc.

The only thing I hate is when DH or DS does not put the toilet seat and cover down I have to go in and do it for them and then have to wash my hands after that. The whole not putting the seat/cover down making me waste my time doing it then washing my hands is really starting to get old fast.

And of course I have to help our two DC wash their own hands..DS has just got all enough to be able to do it by himself now.

I don't use antibacterial soap just whatever appealed to me at the store when I last bought and my hands only get real dried out in the winter if I have been cleaning\doing the dishes with really hot water and no gloves.

It adds up to a lot of hand washing during the run of a day.
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#70 of 73 Old 12-13-2008, 06:07 PM
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Re. the pee being sterile...etc. I too am not sure why you need to wash after a pee as nothing does get on your hands! BUT its part of when I was growing up. My mum was (is) a bit of an obsessive compulsive and she always told me how much dirt the toilet flush had on it which is why I always wash after using the bathroom!
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#71 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 02:31 PM
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Maybe I just clean my bathroom more frequently than most? But I'm from the camp that is confused as to why you have to wash your hands if they're not dirty.

I wash after poopy diapers, if cooking/baking for company, if I'm doing something messy (bread dough, gardening) after coming in from the barn and coming home from a public place. Oh and after using a public washroom. THOSE places are icky.

I also teach my son to wash if his hands get dirty in the bathroom, after he eats - he's a toddler...every meal is messy...if he's playing with the dogs and they are dirty etc.

Oh I also wash my hands after petting the dogs because I can't stand smelly hands.

I'm comfortable with our own germs, just not EVERYONE elses.

FWIW those antibacterial soaps are activated by the chlorine in city water so for those of us in the country, they aren't overly useful. I've never bought the stuff, I don't think putting alcohol on my skin to be absorbed is healthy whatsoever anyway.

I don't consider myself to be a germaphobe, but I refuse to let my kids play in those public playplaces like at McDonalds (MIL can't figure out why I wont' take them to McD's in the first place lol!) I also wash toys every week and disinfect any used toys we get.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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#72 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Little grey mare View Post

I don't consider myself to be a germaphobe, but I refuse to let my kids play in those public playplaces like at McDonalds (MIL can't figure out why I wont' take them to McD's in the first place lol!) I also wash toys every week and disinfect any used toys we get.
I don't blame you on that one! Those places are gross all around. You know they can't properly clean inside those tubes!!!

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#73 of 73 Old 12-15-2008, 04:36 PM
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I'm noticing reading this thread that there are two camps, the frequent and the 'less frequent' hand washers.

Both sides seem happy with their habit (or lack of one) and healthy with neither side feeling that they are ill more often due to their habits.


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