You’d think that, after the many handwashing and sanitising campaigns that the government put out there during the pandemic, the concept of good hand hygiene would have stuck. However, although most people know they should be washing their hands regularly and sanitising, many people still don’t. Cracking the hand hygiene code and getting people to actually do it seems impossible.

The problem

Many businesses have invested in costly new sanitising methods to not only keep staff and customers safe but also to keep their business running. So, the fact that people still stubbornly refuse to practice good hand hygiene is frustrating for them. After all, it could lead to their staff falling sick. Which costs them in sick pay and has the impact of causing understaffing so they are not operating at 100%, or even having to close. Or, for those in the catering industries, it could lead to customers falling ill and blaming the food – not their own poor hygiene. All of which is bad for business. 

So, how exactly do businesses protect themselves and encourage people to sanitise properly? Check out our tips below on why people aren’t using the best hand hygiene practices and how you can encourage them to. 

Why people don’t practise good hand hygiene

Considering the fact that washing your hands can actually be lifesaving. It’s crazy (and disturbing) to think how few people actually do. Of course, certain factors like where you live in the world and your access to water and soap have a huge impact on people’s ability to clean. However, we’re specifically talking about us Brits here, and Brits definitely have no excuse when it comes to access. So why aren’t they washing their hands and using sanitiser?

There are many reasons why some people might not be washing their hands for the recommended time with soap or using hand sanitiser. Here are our top 5 reasons why. 

*Our faces just thinking of all those dirty hands…*

1. It won’t happen to me!

We humans very often have the attitude of “it won’t happen to me.” Some people wrongly believe that they don’t need to worry about it impacting them. That’s why lots of people still do things they know aren’t great for their health like smoking, excessive drinking, or eating cake…mmm… cake… ok, that one we understand.

2. Time delay

Because we don’t get sick immediately after coming into contact with bacteria on our hands, we don’t tend to blame bad hand hygiene when we get sick. So, the “it won’t happen to me” attitude combined with the fact that there isn’t often an immediate negative action to not washing your hands is a risky combination.

3. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

The recommended time to spend washing your hands is 20 seconds using warm water and soap. 20 seconds doesn’t sound like long but, for the busy person in a rush, apparently washing your hands while singing happy birthday is 20 seconds too much!

*Girl, those hands are not clean…*

4. My hands hurt!

Constant hand washing and use of hand sanitiser can lead to dry, sore hands. This is because the harsh chemicals and alcohol in many products irritate the skin. People can also be put off by the sticky or smelliness of sanitisers. When you factor in the points above, and then the fact that there’s a downside to good hand hygiene with most products, it’s easy to see why some people aren’t as good as they could be.

5. But they look clean

As we can’t see the germs on our hands, people often mistakenly believe they are clean just because they aren’t covered in dirt. This is why some will do a customary 5 second run under cold water without soap and call it job done. 

Cracking the code

So, now you know why you can look at how to solve the problem. Some are, admittedly, easier than others to solve. After all, changing people’s opinions is never easy. Here are our top 3 ways to encourage your people to “SANITISE YOUR DAMN HANDS PLEASE!!!” – without yelling that at them.

1. BrutallyGentle products

Not all hand hygiene products have to be sticky, smelly, drying, and overall offputting to use. Provide products without the negatives that put people off. GermErase 24hr is alcohol-free, has a low concentration of chemicals at 90.7% water, and is not sticky and virtually ordourless. So hands are not sticky, not smelly, and not sore. To top it off, it is 99.999% effective and forms a protective barrier so you don’t need to reapply again until the next time you wash your hands. So there’s really no excuse not to use it!

2. Peer pressure is sometimes the answer

We know, peer pressure isn’t nice. But, in this context, we think it’s acceptable. Apply the pressure by putting up signs on how and why people should be practising good hand hygiene.

3. Make it easy

The easier it is to do something, the more likely people will be to do it. Provide sanitisers in easy to reach places and have several dotted around so they don’t have to go out of their way to use them. Having nice soap, warm water, and a pleasant way to dry hands (no soaking wet, dirty towels) also goes a long way towards encouraging people to use the facilities. 

Or you can remove the toilet paper so people have to use their hands and will want to thoroughly wash them as a result… just kidding. Definitely don’t do that one!

*Without GermErase we would not want to touch that…*

Here at GermErase, we’re trying to help you crack the hand hygiene code by making hand hygiene easy, attractive, and rewarding. How? We hear you ask. GermErase is easy because it’s ready to use, you only need to apply between hand washes, and it’s super effective. GermErase is attractive because, well just look at us… boring, unnoticeable, and bland we are not! Finally, GermErase is rewarding for the user as it provides them with a pleasant experience. It’s gentle, not smelly, and not sticky, so there are no unpleasant aftereffects. 

So there you have it. Now you have all you need to crack the hand hygiene code and protect your people and your business. If after all this, people still don’t want to have clean hands… Well, you can take a horse to water…

Author: Emily Marcham