97 Percent of Us Are Washing Our Hands All Wrong

iStock
iStock

Most of us know the importance of washing our hands, but we're still pretty clueless when it comes to washing them the right way. As CNN reports, we fall short of washing our hands effectively 97 percent of the time.

That number comes from a new study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that looked at 383 participants in a test-kitchen environment. When they were told to wash their hands, the vast majority of subjects walked away from the sink after less than 20 seconds—the minimum hand-washing time recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of them also failed to dry their hands with a clean towel.

The researchers had participants cooking and handling raw meats. Because they didn't wash their hands properly, volunteers were spreading potentially dangerous germs to spice jars 48 percent of the time, contaminating refrigerator handles 11 percent of the time, and doing the same to salads 5 percent of the time.

People who don't wash their hands the correct way risk spreading harmful microbes to everything they touch, making themselves and those they live with more susceptible to certain infections like gastrointestinal illness and respiratory infections. Luckily, the proper hand-washing protocol isn't that complicated: The biggest change most of us need to make is investing more time.

According to the CDC, you need to rub your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds to get rid of harmful bacteria. A helpful trick is to sing "Happy Birthday" twice as you wash—once you're finished, you should have passed the 20-second mark. And if your bathroom or kitchen doesn't have a clean towel to dry your hands with, let them air-dry. 

[h/t CNN]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Amazon's Bestselling Contactless Thermometer Is on Sale for 33 Percent Off

iHealth/Amazon
iHealth/Amazon

A fever is one of the tell-tale symptoms of COVID-19, which makes a thermometer an essential tool for detecting the illness early. But if you're sharing an oral thermometer with members of your household, you may fear the risk of spreading infected saliva outweighs the benefits. Investing in a contactless thermometer solves this problem, and this model from iHealth ($40) has the internet's approval.

As Yahoo! reports, the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer is the bestselling infrared forehead thermometer on Amazon. To use it, simply hold the device a few inches above the forehead of the person whose temperature you want to take, press the button, and wait for the infrared technology to gauge their body temperature. The thermometer vibrates and shows the reading on an LED display when the process is complete.

iHealthAmazon

In addition to being the third-bestselling item on the entire site, the thermometer is also positively reviewed, with an average 4.3-star rating from more than 17,000 customers. "We are using this at our clinic [and] it is a go-to for our nurses," one reviewer wrote. Another reviewer said, "This infrared thermometer is the easiest and most accurate that you can possibly use. I should have bought one of these long ago."

The iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer normally costs $60, but it's currently on sale for $40, plus free shipping.

[h/t Yahoo!]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.