Handwashing: Its Meaning and Importance Meaning:

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Handwashing: Its Meaning and Importance


It is very important to first define hand washing before taking a plunge into its importance. Hand-washing or hand hygiene is a general term, which refers to every action that involves hand cleansing.

Hand washing or hand hygiene is the very act of cleansing our hands either with or without the involvement of water or other liquid or even with soap, to remove dirt, soil and/or harmful microorganisms from our skin.

Hand washing is the fundamental hygiene procedure aimed to achieve disease control and prevent spread of microbial infection. The procedure involves thorough cleansing of one`s hands with water, soap water or alcoholic gel sanitizers.

Handwashing describes the first and foremost step in the dictionary of hygiene that involves complete rinse of hands with water by rubbing the hands against each other. Detergents are also involved in this procedure to kill all possible germs that attack your hands.

Hand washing can be defined as the rigorous and momentary rubbing together of two lathered hands, followed by a brief rinse with clean water. Hand washing remove all possible infectious microorganisms by mechanically eliminating them with the help of water/soap water. The aim of hand washing is to remove germs and not killing them.


The importance of handwashing is discussed below:

  1. Health hygiene: The main importance of hand washing is to maintain personal hygiene. Most pathogenic bacteria enter our body through our hands. We tend to pick up germs from every infected surface that our hands come in contact with. Thus, protection becomes necessary from the bacteria in the form of frequent hand washing. It is advised to wash your hands many times during the day especially when you are outside the protection of your house.
  2. Eliminate all dirt: Dirt is omnipresent and sticks to your hands at all times. It is essential to remove dirt to avoid diseases and ensure good health. Dirt if not removed from your hands, will find its way inside your body, while you eat with those dirty hands. Rinsing your hands with clean water even without soap will help remove dirt particles.
  3. Clean hands assured: Regular hand washing will give you clean and tidy hands. While washing your hands with water is enough to clean your hands off dirt, the bacteria are washed away only with soap water. Most people just wash their hands after meals to clear away food particles, but this does not mean your hands will stay clean all day. Hand washing is not just important to clear away visible dirt, but it is also essential to do away with the invisible microbes.
  4. Protection towards germ entry inside the body: Improved hand hygiene by hand washing is one of the most prominent precautions to be taken to avoid sickness and prevent the entry of germs into our bodies. Various germs constantly attempt to enter our bodies through various entry points, the primary one being our hands. Our hands are the busiest part of our body. Everything we do, involves our hands. Hence, hands are the hot favorites for germs through which they seek entry to our body to cause diseases. Hand washing will ensure complete protection from illness and from germs.
  5. Avoid germs spread through handshake: It is not only important to stop picking up germs from places, but it is also important to stop them from spreading during person to person contact. Every time we shake hands with our peers with dirty hands, germs spread rapidly. Hence, hand-washing plays an important role in prevention of germ spread by human touch.
  6. Say goodbye to all skin diseases: Human skin is very sensitive to bacterial infection. When you touch your face with dirty hands, you infect your face with acne causing bacteria. Thus, if you want to have a problem free and glowing skin, make sure you wash your hands frequently. Other skin infections like the fungal one may also occur due to dirty hands. When you wash your hands or sanitize them, you rinse away all microbes and the possibility of any related skin diseases.
  7. Odorless hands guaranteed: If you do not wash your hands, your hands tend to give out bad odor and stink. This will not only effect your health adversely, but will also be a downfall for your overall personality and social image. Hand washing keeps your hands feeling fresh, clean and odorless at all times.
  8. Assured skin health: Germs and dirt can deteriorate your skin texture and health. Hand washing will give you soft and clean hands. Clean hands are the secret to good skin. Skin issues like rashes, itchiness, acne, infections, oily skin, etc. will not be a problem anymore if you keep your hands neat and clean.
  9. Keeps you well-groomed: Self grooming is not only just cosmetic grooming, personal hygiene also plays a very important role in your daily grooming agenda. A clean hand makes your appearance more attractive and presentable. Hand washing is an important grooming tip that should be included in your routine.      
  10. Lesser requirement of medicines: Use of antibiotics and other potent medical drugs often have harmful adverse effects. Keeping your hands germ free ensures that you stay disease free and as a result, intake of antibiotics and other drugs become redundant. Since most diseases like diarrhea, respiratory infections, etc. occur via invading pathogens entering your body through dirty hands; hand washing keeps you disease free and antibiotics free.


The importance of hand washing cannot be stressed enough. People of all ages should be aware about the advantages of frequent hand washing and the possible consequences of dirty hands. Kids should be taught as to when and how to wash their hands during their school hours while they are away from the parental guidance. A healthy body is desired by everyone and hand washing is the key ingredient to it. From skin diseases to stomach illnesses, everything is rooted from infected hands.


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