The Safe Hands Challenge Will Teach You to Scrub Places You Might Have Missed

To help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), it's important to practice "respiratory etiquette," as one World Health Organization (WHO) doctor calls it — covering up when you sneeze and cough. It's also imperative to keep physical distance from people and do your best job at washing your hands.

WHO came up with the Safe Hands Challenge, in which the organization is calling for people to post videos on social media of themselves practicing hand hygiene with the proper steps. You'll find a whole collection of videos by typing in #SafeHands and #SafeHandsChallenge on platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram.

Though the general guideline is to scrub for at least 20 seconds, WHO goes even further in advising that the whole process take at least 40 seconds. Here's a list of thorough steps the organization recommended in its initial Safe Hands Challenge video. We added some commentary to explain:

  1. Wet your hands with water.
  2. Apply enough soap to cover your whole hand.
  3. Rub your hands palm to palm.
  4. Rub your right palm over your left hand, interlacing fingers, and vice versa.
  5. Rub palm to palm again, this time with your fingers interlaced.
  6. Rub the back of your fingers on your opposite palm (kind of like the motion of squeezing the juice out of an orange).
  7. Rub rotationally over your left and right thumbs.
  8. Rub rotationally over your fingertips (to get under your nails).
  9. Rinse with water.
  10. Dry thoroughly with a towel.
  11. Use a towel to turn off the water facet.

Note: to save water, don't keep the facet running.

Even before WHO's challenge, people were posting videos protecting themselves by washing their hands (we see you, Mariah Carey!). Ahead, check out Safe Hands Challenge videos circling the internet. Some big names have joined so far, including The Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger, Selena Gomez, Olivia Wilde, Chrissy Metz, and Billy Porter. WHO wants us all to participate and share how we wash and scrub — try it out!