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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-15-2008 03:36 PM
BaBaBa 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.

12-15-2008 03:02 PM
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!!!
12-15-2008 01:31 PM
Tizzy 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.
12-13-2008 05:07 PM
Gabe'sMummy 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!
12-13-2008 01:21 AM
ScotiaSky 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.
12-12-2008 09:31 PM
Llyra 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.
12-12-2008 09:01 PM
2xy 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. :-)
12-12-2008 02:13 PM
MoonStarFalling 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.
12-12-2008 11:07 AM
mumm 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!
12-12-2008 08:51 AM
Smalls181 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.
12-12-2008 08:19 AM
crazydiamond 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.
12-12-2008 03:39 AM
DBZ 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.
12-12-2008 03:33 AM
Alison's Mom 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.
12-12-2008 01:55 AM
Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
so if urine is sterile why do we have to wash our hands after a pee anyhow?
what i don't understand is why there is the need to wash your hands after you pee every time. is everyone getting pee on their hands but me? maybe i use an unusual amount of TP, but it's very very rare that i get anything on myself...
12-12-2008 12:57 AM
Originally Posted by Gabe'sMummy View Post
I live in britain, not sure whether that makes a difference how hygienic we are.

I think it makes a big difference! I think that beliefs about germs are very cultural
12-12-2008 12:51 AM
Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post
Toilets spray germs into the air and on everything around them- fecal germs. (You can look this up, if you flush with the toilet seat up the fecal germs basically blast into the air- they have videos that show how most of our toothbrushes have fecal bacteria on them from this.) :
That theory has been debunked. It's true that the toilet does spray but the actual bacterial residue is basically non-existent. Toothbrushes may have lots of bacteria but it is from your mouth, not the toilet. Bathroom surfaces aren't generally conducive to bacterial growth anyway.

I'm really surprised how many obsessive hand washers there are here I would have expected a lot more talk about how important germ exposure is to immune system development.

Those Oprah type shows where they go around culturing items and then being super dramatic about how they grew.... du.. du.. du.... BACTERIA. Germ-a-phobe propaganda makes me so Of course there are bacteria, they are everywhere and most of them are in the range of won't hurt you to good for you.

I had a microbiology professor who only wanted his kids to wash after #2 and NEVER with antibacterial soap (because it doesn't even work as well as regular soap and it is harmful...). He was so worried that they weren't getting enough exposure for their immune development because of the sterility obsession in our culture.

Does anyone here consider it unhealthy to wash your hands too much? I do!

I wash after poop contact, when fixing food for people other than myself, and when they feel gross. I think I do wash more in public bathrooms, probably every time but I'm not sure why. I'm positive those bathrooms are cleaner than mine :
12-11-2008 10:56 PM
Crunchie I'm on both sides of the spectrum.

When I'm in public, I'm OCD about restrooms. I am no germaphobe, but I am a little weirded out by public potty germs. I don't touch any part of the toilet. I long ago perfected the fine art of hovering. I tear off about 6 inches of toilet paper and just toss it before tearing off what I actually use--someone else's dirty hands probably touched it. If the paper towel dispenser at the sink requires me to touch it to dispense my paper, I do it before I start washing my hands, so I don't have to touch the dispenser after I've washed. I use a paper towel to open the restroom door when I'm finished. I also use anti-bacterial wipes for shopping carts before I touch them and before put my son in the seat.

At home? I wash before prepping food--most of the time. I wash after handling eggs (we're vegetarian, so no raw meat is ever in our kitchen). I wash after #2s (mine or baby's), but rarely #1s. I darn sure am not washing after a midnight pee. Whatevah. I wash if I've come in from taking care of the animals (we have horses, goats, and chickens--hands get plenty dirty). Other than that, I only wash if my hands have otherwise gotten yucky (with some sort of food or dirt or whatever).

But overall, we're pretty relaxed about hand washing at home. We wash after the obvious yucky stuff. I will wash more frequently if anyone is sick--which, honestly, is very, very rarely. We rarely get colds and even more rarely get stomach bugs. I do not use anything anti-bacterial to clean with inside my home, except very rarely I will use a bleach solution for something that has come in contact with something especially high on the "ick" scale (chicken poo or especially gross dog messes). I strongly believe that antibacterials and disinfectants are dangerous in the long run. Bacteria are rapidly evolving critters--we are only developing supergerms by continuing to use disinfectants unnecessarily. Now, I believe that there is a place for disinfectants, of course. In hospitals, or in homes if someone in the household is immunocomprised, for example. I just think that, in most cases, using them repeatedly throughout the day and for every surface in your home isn't solving anything. If anything, it's creating bigger problems.
12-11-2008 08:34 PM
BaBaBa ummm...
so if urine is sterile why do we have to wash our hands after a pee anyhow?
12-11-2008 07:48 PM
pibblestiltskin@ma I love these threads, my dh is such a germophobe at least now I know that he is not as crazy I thought he was!

I generally wash my hands:

- after using the bathroom
- after handling bodily fluids/solids (poop, pee, vomit) both human and pet.
- before cooking/preparing foods
- after handling something gross - including raw meat, slimy things, etc.
- when they have something on them that I want off (ink, dirt, glue etc)

That is about it. FWIW I hardly ever get sick. I don't even get the illnesses that make their way into my house.
12-11-2008 07:18 PM
Gabe'sMummy I wash mine
-always after handling eggs/raw meat (obviously.)
-always after changing a no. 2 nappy but not always after a wet one.
-always after going to the bathroom whether its 3am or not!
-after blowing nose etc
-after touching something particularly nasty
I live in britain, not sure whether that makes a difference how hygienic we are. But every mama I know sucks their kids' dummies/pacis after dropping them on the floor...I have seen 1 wipe her kids with a milton wipe and I thought it was backwards is that? DS is rarely sick and when he is he shakes it off very quickly.
I never worry about germs when I'm out, maybe I should! I do wipe down the public change mats though if I am changing DS when out but I wouldn't freak out about him sitting in the trolley where other kids have sat.
Some of us panic about other people and their germs they have left on things but they are probably pretty clean too we always assume strangers are filthy but not usually the case!!
12-11-2008 06:59 PM
Sasharna I'm curious what people are trying to prevent, when they wash their hands after entering a bathroom in any way. I have no doubt that there are germs all over the bathroom--I just doubt they're likely to cause any trouble.

I would think that if it were significantly dangerous to pee and leave your own home bathroom without washing, people who do so would be seriously ill a lot more often.

What are the risks and how likely are they?
12-11-2008 06:46 PM
Originally Posted by dividedsky View Post
i wash my hands.... in the shower. and before i cook. and if they are literally dirty from gardening or something. that's it. knock on wood, i VERY rarely get sick.

germs don't scare me
Me too.
12-11-2008 06:33 PM
Drummer's Wife
Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post

Doctors are notoriously bad about washing their hands, I've worked in a clinical setting and most just get very ho hum about it. There's a reason there is so many infections getting transferred in hositals, healthcare workers and people in general ignore this vital and very basic action- handwashing.

no kidding! I spent 3 weeks in the hospital earlier this year and I was really surprised to see the doctors and specialists pretty much never wash their hands. I mean, I may have saw them do it a couple times and the nurses did occasionally but otherwise they used the sanitizer pump that was outside my door.

In the ICU, nonetheless. I just hope that when they went in to the other rooms, you know, the ones that had contagious disease signs or whatever on the door, that they washed their freakin hands. :
12-11-2008 06:29 PM
dividedsky i wash my hands.... in the shower. and before i cook. and if they are literally dirty from gardening or something. that's it. knock on wood, i VERY rarely get sick.

germs don't scare me
12-11-2008 06:28 PM
Originally Posted by Ks Mama View Post
Mail is handled by so many people on the way to you... its not something I'm comfortable opening and then just moving along with my day. Not to mention the anthrax scare years back... ack. Anyway, I don't think I'm out of line with washing after opening the mail, or any of the other things I mentioned - bathroom, pets, etc.

As to those saying their hands are dried out - I keep lotion right at the sink; my hands don't get dried out. I clean dishes by hand too.
On the mail thing, yes mail is handled by people along the way but so is everything else on the planet. I don't wash my hands after opening the vinegar bottle I bought at the store, or the video I rented, or the library book I borrowed or the hundreds of other products in my home. I believe most of the mail sorting process is pretty automated these days. And yeah, I don't think handwashing is going to do anything against anthrax, you would inhale it as soon as you opened the envelope.
12-11-2008 04:58 PM
IndigoEyes I wash my hands quite frequently thorugh out my day. Having twins, I'm changing twice as many diapers, so I'm washing my hands after twice the diaper changes. I have hand sanitizer in the bathroom, so often if they were just pee-pee diaps, I just use the sanitizer. Same if I've just peed. But after any poos, mine or babes, I wash. I also have Lysol wipes in the bathroom and every other day I wipe down the surface areas of the toilet and the surrounding floor. Once a week I take lysol wipes to all door knobs as well.

When out in public, hand washing is a must. I have hand sanitizer and handy wipes in my van, in my purse and in diaper bag.

I don't really get the washing after opening mail part, but one thing no one else mentioned.. do you wash after putting gas in your car??? YUK!! I have a bottle of foaming sanitizer in the map pocket of my drivers side door. After pumping gas and before touching anything else, I wash my hands with it.

My hands are a little dry, they were seriously sore and cracked a few weeks ago when everyone but me in out house had the stomach virus. I washed my hands so much during all that. After all I was cleaning up vomit and diarrhea several times throughout the day. I was bound and determined that I wasn't going to get it. And I never did. So that's proof there that frequent hand washing is your greatest defense against getting infected or sick.
12-11-2008 04:17 PM
JamesMama 95% of my handwashing is done at work. I do wash after diaper changes, pottying, laundry, etc at home but at work I don't really have a choice. I have to wash my hands an ungodly amount for state regulations. County health code requires a glove change after moving from touching 1 food to another (except on the prep table obviously, but if I'm making XYZ food item I have to change gloves after adding the X then again after adding Y and after adding Z) and washing hands before every glove change.

I choose to wash hands often when running register because money is disgusting. If I lotion my hands a few times a day that really helps with the dryness. I lotion often at home...never at work, but often at home.

ETA- and like a PP I'm not harming my children. James washes his hands: After using the restroom, before he eats, after he eats (he's almost 4, he's a messy eater and all food is finger food), when he comes in from outside. That's it.
12-11-2008 04:14 PM
Porcelain Interior
Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
I don't wash my hands much at all compared to others on this thread. Toilet, preparing food and gardening or cleaning disgusting stuff and that's about it. I don't have a dishwasher though so my hands are often in the sink.

There are 6 of us in our family and we are all sturdily healthy.

Those of you with cracked, dry hands are ignoring your bodies' messages.
Your bodies are telling you that the excessive washing is damaging your tissues. Surely our skin barrier is designed to be air and water tight to keep germs out of our bodies directly. If your skin is cracked then you are leaving this barrier unguarded and therefore increasing your risk.

In any other situation would you not try to do something to remedy this skin condition and alleviate discomfort? Do you want this for your children?
People have different skin types. Some cracks easier than others. My children do not have cracked skin. In the winter when we get drier skin we use lotion.

Having dry skin doesn't mean you should stop washing your hands- you should definitely evaluate if you are doing it excessively (it can become a problem for some people who do it compulsively) and what type of soap you are using, we use a mild soap here.

I think it's a stretch to start saying we're harming our children by encouraging handwashing in areas where it is the correct thing to do.

My children wash their hands:

After they use the bathroom
When they enter the house after school or from being out in public
Before eating

That's it, and I find it strange that that would be considered excessive.

It is proper hygiene.

Doctors are notoriously bad about washing their hands, I've worked in a clinical setting and most just get very ho hum about it. There's a reason there is so many infections getting transferred in hositals, healthcare workers and people in general ignore this vital and very basic action- handwashing.
12-11-2008 04:09 PM
BaBaBa I definitely think it's possible to wash your hands TOO MUCH, especially in your home environment. Out in the public is a totally different story.

Anyone read 'good germs, bad germs'...I forget the author's name...

Anyhow there's so much 'good' bacteria around us, it's important to have contact with it to train our immune systems to differentiate between the good and the bad germs.
12-11-2008 03:50 PM
mytwogirls I am an RN in Labor/Delivery so I wash all the time at work, but at home hardly ever. Seriously. Poop, vomit, food preparation and that is about it unless I have something icky on my hands. We are all very healthy. I just don't think about washing that much really. It does not bother me and frankly I would get tired going to the sink that much. And I hate lotion for hands, it has always left me feeling slimy like...ick. Anyway, it is interesting to see how many times a day some people wash their
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