Even though we’re nearing the end of cold and flu season (hooray!), we parents, in particular, are surrounded by a whole lot of bugs on a regular basis, regardless of what season it is. And if you’ve been watching the news, then you’ve probably got coronavirus on your mind.

You’ve heard it before, probably from your doctor, your nurse, your librarian… you get the idea, and well, we’re here to say it again to the people in the back row: hand washing really is the most effective way to prevent germs from spreading.

That includes infections, viruses, and bacteria, just to name a few.

The problem: most of us are not washing our hands at the appropriate times. And we’re not washing them correctly. (Yes, there is a correct way). This also means there’s a good chance our kids aren’t washing them correctly (or often enough) either. But hey, no judgment.

That’s why we’re here with this handy hand washing cheat sheet that we hope will help keep your whole family healthier.

How to teach your kids how to wash their hands | sponsor

We’re sharing it on behalf of our sponsor Plaine Products, a wonderful company that’s helping families wash away germs without the use of harsh chemicals that dry out the skin. And they’re committed to saving the earth too: their hand washes, and other products, come in refillable aluminum bottles, that can be returned, then cleaned, refilled, and shipped back. Awesome!

(And don’t miss their special 20% off offer, below).

We hope these hand washing tips help keep your family healthier during this month, and all year long.

Source: CDC (We do not mess around with this kind of information)


Here are the key times that you should be washing your hands 

This is not rocket science (yay!). Basically, think about the times that you are most likely to get or spread germs, then make sure your hands are clean.

– Anytime you come in contact with food, so before, during, and after preparing food, as well as before eating food.

– Anytime you come in contact with a sick person, particularly when they have vomited or have diarrhea.

– Whenever you are administering first aid, like treating a cut or a wound.

– Anytime you are in or around a bathroom, such as using the toilet, changing diapers, or cleaning up a child who has used a toilet.

– Anytime you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze.

– Anytime you do anything that has to do with animals, so after touching them, their food, or their waste. That also includes handling pet food and pet treats.

– Anytime you come in contact with garbage or waste.


More about our sponsor: Plaine Products

Key times for when you need to wash your hands | sponsor

With a little bit of water, a dab of Plaine Products hand washes and one round of the Alphabet song, you and your family can wash away the germs without the use of harsh chemicals. Available in Rosemary Mint Vanilla and Citrus Lavender, these natural, vegan hand washes won’t dry out your family’s skin. 

They’re also committed to eliminating single-use plastics in the bathroom, or wherever you use your hair care and body products. Subscribers receive regular shipments of their favorite Plaine Products then send back their empty containers, which the company will clean, refill, and return.

So when you purchase from Plaine Products, you’re not only thinking about your family’s health, you’re thinking about the environment too. 

Special Offer: Use code COOLMOM and save 20% off your order at Plaine Products


Here is how to properly wash your hands 

So, here’s the deal, friends. We’re not here to make you feel bad that you haven’t been washing your hands correctly. Or that your kids are just rinsing their hands with water and calling it a day. But this way, you will know what to do, and even better, you’ll have a quick and easy way to teach your kids how to do it right too.

1. Using clean, running water (cold or warm), wet your hands, turn off the tap, and apply soap.

2. Lather up! Rub your hands together with the soap, then do the backs of your hands, between your fingers (definitely between your fingers, top and bottom!), and under your nails.

IMPORTANT: Don’t miss the easy-to-miss spots! You can do this by alternately twisting your hand around each thumb to reach the inner and outer thumb areas; and by rubbing your hands in a circular motion from thumb to pinky, so you don’t skip the outside of your hands.

3. Scrub for 20 seconds. If you need a timer, you can hum or sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, or sing the entire Alphabet Song.

4. Rinse your hands under that clean, running water.

5. Dry your hands using a clean towel, or just air dry them. Use the clean towel to turn off the sink itself, and you can also use it to open the restroom door before tossing the towel.


A few other thoughts about keeping your hands clean: 

– Some people swear by turning off taps and opening door handles (especially in public restrooms) with your arm or a paper towel in your hand. It’s true that they are pretty dirty.

– Keeping your nails (and your kid’s nails) shorter is a good idea. Lots of fun things can live under longer nails. And by fun, we mean not so fun.

– Hand sanitizers can be a replacement for hand washing. It is recommended by the CDC that the one you choose contains at least 60% alcohol, and that you rub the correct amount into your hands until they are dry, which usually takes about 20 seconds.

Thanks so much to our sponsor Plaine Products for making natural products for families (including hand washes, shampoos, body washes and more) that actually help the environment too.