Consumers Corner # 27


The average hand-washing
time is just 6 seconds

By Jim Murphy

While working in a suburban Chester County office building in the 1990s, I first noticed people don’t always wash their hands.

Employees at a small technical writing company who shared a floor with our marketing agency rarely ever washed their hands after using the men’s room. It was disgusting.

 But even when we do wash our hands, most of us don’t do it properly. And that’s a shame.

Hand-washing is the #1
way to prevent disease

Jacqui Reilly of Glasgow Caledonian University, the lead author of a hand-washing study, says hand hygiene is “the single most important intervention that you can do to prevent health care-associated infection” and “protect yourself and your family from infections and viruses.”

Washing hands properly involves five simple steps, says the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.


  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.


  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.


  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.


  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.


Just as football teams practice blocking and tackling all the time, hand-washing is something we all need to practice daily.

Why? We get lazy and start to get sloppy in our technique.

The good news: washing hands properly every day is an easy way to protect yourself, your family and friends from illness and disease. Why not start today?

Shocking Statistics

  • 2 percent of 2,800 survey respondents did not wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.


  • The average hand-washing time was six seconds, according to a college-town study that observed 3,749 people.


  • We touch our eyes, nose and mouth about 25 times an hour without realizing it, says the CDC.


Sources: New York Times, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, Philly.com


See the right way to wash
your hands on this video:






The Independence Visitor Center (IVC) at 6th and Market Street, Philadelphia, is in the midst of 2-year, $15 million renovation and expansion.

Visitors to the building will now find two new surprises – as I did. First, the rest rooms have been moved across the hall from the west side to the east (closer to 5th St.). And second, the always-clean restrooms now have new high-tech Dyson hand dryers on every faucet.

That means you no longer need to walk a long way to dry your hands. You just dry them right at the faucet with the Dyson Air Blade Tap Dryer.

So now it will be easy for any of the center’s 2.5 million annual visitors to wash … and dry … their hands thoroughly and properly at the IVC.



 Nearly 1/3 

 The number of people receiving tech gadgets at Christmas who won’t use them – because they don’t know how to set the gizmos up, says USA Today consumer tech columnist Jennifer Jolly.



The number of Americans who will spend time setting up new technical gifts … or troubleshooting them this holiday season.

100 feet

The distance a German consumer group Stifung Warentest says a bluetooth connection could enable a person to hijack the connection of a Furby Connect doll, turn on the microphone and speak to the child. Pretty scary.

Source: New York Times



In 1831, Washington Square served as an arboretum to help educate the public about horticulture. It contained over 50 varieties of trees: seven were from Europe; and two of the native varieties were introduced from the Rocky Mountains.by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Photo Credit

Girls Practicing Good Handwashing Techniques – As part of Global Hand-Washing Day, two local children teach help each other wash their hands for improved hygiene. Photo by: USAID / Afghan Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation (SWSS), Courtesy of Creative Commons.


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. Jim is also a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guide and writes historical articles for the Queen Village Neighbors Association magazine.


Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.





Our awesome programs are only possible with your generous help!