What Does “Frequent” Handwashing Mean?
As Time Magazine recently pointed out, the primary weapon for combating disease didn’t change much between the 1918 Spanish Flu and the 2019 Coronavirus. It’s still washing your hands.
Sometimes, simple measures can be so simple, we discount their importance. At this point, frequent handwashing has practically become an act of patriotism. But as professional servers and sellers, we’re basically experts on frequent handwashing.
What Exactly Does “Frequent” Mean, Though?
According to the FDA, it means immediately after any activity that contaminates them. It means at times like these:
- When entering a food prep area.
- Before food preparation of any kind, which could include adding garnishes to plates or drinks.
- Before handling clean equipment or serving utensils.
- When switching between different food handling tasks, like when switching from shrimp to fruit garnishes.
- After handling customers’ cash or cards.
- After handling any dirty glasses, dishes, equipment, or utensils.
- After touching human body parts other than clean hands (face and hair are especially common).
- After using the restroom.
- After coughing, sneezing, blowing nose, using tobacco, eating, or drinking.
- After handling service animals or decorative aquariums.
You likely know lots of other times you should wash your hands, especially when you’re actively prepping food or drinks. It’s anytime you touch surfaces that are frequently touched – cabinet knobs, fridge or freezer handles, your phone, a pen, a ketchup bottle . . . A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands whenever you switch tasks. It requires a certain self-awareness that becomes second-nature after you’ve been serving for even a short length of time.
What’s the Correct Way to Wash Your Hands?
Of course, all the handwashing in the world won’t matter if it isn’t done right. So just as a quick reminder, a proper 20-second handwashing includes:
- Rinsing under clean, warm, running water,
- Applying soap and rubbing at least 10-15 seconds around fingernails, fingertips, between fingers, on the surface of hands, and up the arms,
- Rinsing in warm, clean water while allowing dirty water to drain down toward the sink, and
- Drying the hands with something clean and unused.
Your mom was right about a lot of things, and the importance of frequent handwashing was one of them. We’re here to remind you about this and other truths just like it at TABC On The Fly.Back to Blog