Presumed Stupid Until Proven Otherwise

washhands

As citizens of the world, we are forced to touch doorknobs, shopping carts and all sorts of community property every day.  That’s why I’m happy to see these signs popping up in more and more public restrooms.

This is a good start, but the sign doesn’t go far enough.   Here is some much-needed clarification.

1) Wet your hands

Use water.  Make sure it is CLEAN water, which is found in a sink sink.  Do NOT use the water in the toilet.toiletbancartoon

 

Turn faucet(s) until water comes out of the spout.   The water should be hot enough for effective cleansing, but not so hot it burns you.  If your skin begins to blister, turn the “hot” faucet down.

Hold hands under the spout, directly in the path of the running water.  Leave hands in this position until all hand skin achieves desired nondryness.

2) Liquid soap

Hold one hand under the spout of the dispenser with the palm facing up and cupped.

Use other hand to press, flick or otherwise activate the release mechanism on the dispenser.

soapLeave cupped hand underneath dispenser until a  quarter-sized glop has been received.  If you have  only a nickel-sized glop (or penny or dime), continue press/flick motion until quarter-sized glop is achieved.   Susan B Anthony dollar or Sacagawea dollar-sized glops are equally acceptable.  However, if a Kennedy half-dollar sized-glop is accidentally dispensed, you have gone too far.  Wipe hands free of soap and repeat step 2.

3) Lather and scrub – 20 Sec

Lathering is best achieved by rubbing 2, soapy hands together briskly. As the pictures show, each hand should belong to someone with a different skin tone.

If you are African American, locate a Swedish American lather-buddy.  If you are Asian American, partner with a New Yorker who has retired to a seniors-only community in Boca Raton.  This unites us all in a Rainbow of Cleanliness.

20 seconds is the recommended time for the lather and scrub portion of the process.  This is the length of time it takes to whistle The Star Spangled Banner or say an Our Father.  For non-religious/non-patriotic American washers, recite the “what is your quest?” bit from Monty Python (just the part with King Arthur.)

4) Rinse – 10 sec.

See step 1 for a description of the proper liquid to use.  This is the amount of time it takes to sing 3/4 of the chorus of “Mairzy Doats”  Sing out loudly so you don’t lose track of time.

5) Dry Your Hands.

The sign appears to suggest the hand-washer is using a paper towel.  Since these are no longer available in public washrooms, washers should use any clean piece of beige paper or cloth.  Savvy public-washroom-users make it a point to wear beige clothing with long sleeves or really full skirts so they are always prepared.

faucet6) Turn off tap

You should NEVER turn off the tap with your freshly cleaned hands. That is because the washer just before you may NOT have actually washed.  Some just wet their hands to give the illusion of cleanliness, without going to the bother of finding a lather-buddy.  Then they turn off the tap with hands full of staph germs that have been merely moistened.  All that does is make the germs mad and even more potent.

See #5 for a discussion of how to locate a beige cloth.  If you do not have a beige cloth, you may be able to turn off the tap with the force of air generated by the Xcelerator hand dryers found in many modern washrooms.  Merely aim the air stream toward the faucet until it has been turned the desired amount.  Be careful, however to turn the stream away before it totally shears the faucet from the sink.  NEVER let your hands interrupt the air flow produced.  This may strip the skin right from your bones.  Always use ear protection when using this method of faucet-turning.

Don’t Forget To Wash

A few last words on this topic remind us to clean between the fingers, under the nails and on the tops of the hands.  Washing wrist skin is recommended, but not required.  This depends on the bathroom activities you participated in prior to washing.  Wash up to the shoulders if you think you will be called upon to perform surgery in the next 10 minutes.

What’s next on the horizon for instructional signs?

“How to Poop”

Coming soon to a public restroom near you.

 

 

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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78 Responses to Presumed Stupid Until Proven Otherwise

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Wow, I had no idea how complicated hand washing really is! But really, if you want young people to follow these directions, you’re going to have to replace the reference to “Mairzy Doats” with something from this century, or this decade, or, like, five minutes ago.

    Like

  2. mistyslaws says:

    I’ve been doing it wrong all this time!! Both of my hands are the exact same color, and apparently, my hands are covered in angry, wet staph infections! Thank you, Peg, for this most valuable step by step instructional post. When is that poop one coming? Hopefully, soon . . .

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  3. god, we are idiots.

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  4. I didn’t know Mairzy Doats was a song. I thought it was just a nursery rhyme-y thing. Thank you for that.

    Also, I just, I mean JUST, referenced the quest for the Holy Grail in a reply to Darla’s comment on my blog. *synchronicity!*

    And, finally, I always wonder about those hand-washing instructions signs. I’m concerned that those who most need instructions aren’t the type to stop at the sink to read them. Thank you for your public service.

    Like

  5. barbtaub says:

    So funny. Although, I have to confess that when I was in Japan, the high-tech toilets would have completely defeated me if they hadn’t sported manga directions… (Also, at the risk of admitting to my advanced age, the advice we got from CDC during the last flu epidemic was for 30 seconds, which coincidentally is just long enough for the coda from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. And it’s a heck of a lot easier to take in repetition than “Happy Birthday”. I’m just sayin…) [see from minute 2:30 – 3:00]

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  6. I’m looking forward to your precise directions to take a shit in public. You know….we can all start with petitions for our favorite public restrooms to invest in Cottonelle Ultra Soft. As I’m getting older, I realize the dire importance of soft TP.

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  7. Damn, no Sacagawea glops! I’ve been doing it all wrong!

    Okay, I kid you not, “washing hands” was one of our procedures we had to memorize for our medical clinicals exams. In order to properly wash our hands and get rid of any potential nasty MRSA bacteria, it involved a complicated series of about 30 steps. Apparently, washing your hands is the key way to not get sick. And I had to go to college to figure this out.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I can understand that in a healthcare environment. But do you go through all 30 steps when you’re in the restroom at the Stop ‘N Go? I admire your zeal, but you’re holding up the line. Get out of there; the rest of us gotta go!

      Like

    • Hey, just keep your MRSA-riddled body at least 10 feet back from me at all times and let me get though singing Happy Birthday three times in peace.

      Like

  8. You didn’t mention all of the new-fangled hand dryers that blow a combination of germs and moist air all over. Now I don’t know how to dry my hands and walk around all day with humid hands. Thanks a lot.

    Like

  9. lisaspiral says:

    I need directions for how to make the automated faucets and towels dispensers work please. Also instructions on how to actually get the towel out of the dispenser in one piece.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Sorry, there are no such directions. Those automatic things are not SUPPOSED to work. The installers have hidden cameras installed and they sit around all day sniggering at would-be-hand-washers doing their Frustration Dance in a vain attempt to get water/soap/towels.

      Like

  10. Haha, this reminds me of a post I did last year about packaging that treats us like idiots. I’ve seen similar handwashing instructions over here too! So clearly us Brits are no more adept at knowing how to wash our hands than you guys.

    We were laughing yesterday when we had to go into a building with high security, x-ray things like at airports, and there was a sign that said something like “No mobile phones, knives, guns or bombs”, my son was laughing saying “Thank goodness we saw that or we’d have thought it was totally ok to take a bomb in!”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Stupid signs give you a built-in defense. Your son could have brought in an aquarium full of those tiny, poison frogs and said, “But it wasn’t on the sign!”

      Like

  11. Carrie Rubin says:

    Let’s hope my fellow conference attendees follow your helpful hygiene tips, especially come lunch time…

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  12. “if a Kennedy half-dollar sized-glop is accidentally dispensed, you have gone too far.” Oh, Peg. You kill me! The things you come up with! 🙂 My problem is that I have some electromagnetic issue and the automated dispensers don’t work for me! Water won’t come out, soap doesn’t dispense, paper towels (when available) don’t come out and toilets that are supposed to flush automatically don’t. You will usually find me doing all kinds of dances under these sensors to make them work! Sigh.

    Like

  13. Margie says:

    I wondered if there was an App for this and yes, there are several. One is iScrub Lite, which seems to be a big brother thing that monitors health care staff for compliance; and Ella’s Handwashing Adventure App to teach children how to wash their hands. Seems like there is an opportunity here for you to generate income from your excellent instructions.

    Like

  14. lexiemom says:

    Laughed my head off!!! Hilarious!
    I can’t wait for the instructions on “How to Poop”…no really, I can’t wait…I gotta go!!

    Like

  15. There have been times I have wanted to grab someone leaving the restroom, turn them around and march them right back to that sign. I would be happy to decipher the pictures for them and even happier to sing “Happy Birthday” to them as they complied to the code of washing ones hands. Thanks, Peg.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I know what you mean. And if it’s one of the many washrooms with no paper towels, how do you open the door without touching the same spot they did? You end up waiting for 10 maybe 40 minutes until someone else opens the door and you can slip out.

      Like

  16. dorannrule says:

    There is a kind of empty headedness out there so even with your precise instructions, I’m afraid someone may use the toilet water instead of the sink water to wash with. There should be a toilet monitor to oversee the washing of hands. Funny funny post!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      They used to have those in really fancy restaurants, remember? They’d hand you a towel for a tip and force people to wash up because somebody was watching.

      Like

  17. Elyse says:

    I’m always torn between being pleased that folks are being instructed to wash their hands after using the toilet and totally disgusted that they need to be told. I mean, these people are touching food — MY FOOD!

    I’ll volunteer to do the how to poop instructions. Lord knows I have practiced.

    Like

  18. I’m far too self-important to read all the comments up till mine, so forgive me if the following comment is redundant; you’ve neglected to tell us how to open the door to the bathroom to get back into civilization now that we’re clean and the door handle is likely covered in butt wax.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I just answered that question 2 comments up because I am far too self-important to read all the comments first before I start answering them, thereby ensuring the right response gets where it should go.
      Tee hee. You said butt wax.

      Like

  19. omawarisan says:

    Ebonyyyy and Ivoryyy go together in perfect harmony, side by side in the bathroom sink…

    I feel shame for Paul McCartney every time I think of that song.

    Like

  20. Thank you for this. I’m heading out to the shops today and now I feel a lot better about visiting the restroom. I’ll be sure to pass on your excellent advice to my fellow shoppers. I think you may be starting a revolution here.

    Like

  21. Mary K. says:

    Where have you been! If you worked with little ones you would have been trained in this-we even have posters for our bathrooms-thankfully we have pictures with the text for the wee ones compliments of the government. You are way behind the times Peg.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You work with 4-year-olds. I’m all in favor of colorful signs to help 4-year-olds learn this vital life-skill. Because they are 4-year-olds. Most of us visiting a public restroom are not. We should know how to do this. Maybe the really sad thing is how many people, apparently, do NOT know how.

      Like

  22. I sincerely believe that the people who put up those sign actually believe we all have the intelligence level of a banana.

    Like

  23. I think I could use instruction on what the “tops” of my hands are. I always thought they were called the “backs.” You never got hit in the mouth with the “top” of the hand as a teenager. You never gave a “top-handed” compliment. It’s not a “top-hand” tennis swing.
    Who’s stupid now, Hand Washing Instruction Designer?

    Like

  24. Sandy Sue says:

    Ah. Nothing like a bit of Monty Python to put hygiene in perspective.

    Like

  25. I am entirely grateful to have complete instructions on how to wash my hands properly. Of course, having had the experience of some European and Asian countries, where well, lets just say there are different standards I think it is good to have these instructions posted where everyone can see them, understand them even if they are entirely illiterate. Ever seen a sign that tells you not to stand on a toilet seat? I have, imagine that.

    Like

  26. indyaelise says:

    Hello I am Ms.Indya Elise this is my first couple hours having my first blog ever. I enjoyed reading your little blog. I ask that you follow me and my post giving me your insight and advice on my thoughts and blogs I will do the same in return thank you

    Like

  27. My hands are always sterile because I touch everything with my mouth instead. Hey, if it’s good enough for a baby, it’s good enough for me.

    Like

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