Who knew that something as simple as washing your hands could be so ... complex.

You just squirt on some soap, wave them under the tap and then dry them on your pants, right?

Well it turns out we've all been doing it WRONG. Just like you've been using Post-It notes and chopsticks wrong. You silly.

The New York Times published an article last week stating that scientists in Scotland have confirmed that the handwashing technique recommended by the World Health Organisation is the most effective when it comes to blasting bacteria (they pitted it against the Centre for Disease Control technique, and the WHO one came out on top).


It also takes a mind-boggling amount of time to complete. It'll take you 42.5 seconds to wash your hands properly, which basically means you won't have time to watch the new season of Game of Thrones this year.

Here it is written out step by step. Try to stay awake.

Step One: Rub palms together.

Step Two: Rub each palm front to back over the back of the other hand, interlacing fingers.

Step Three: Twist palms with fingers interlaced, and rub between fingers.

Step Four: Interlock your fingers, (thumbs should be on opposite sides), and twist again, this time, backs of fingers against palms.

Step Five: Clasp your left thumb in your right hand and move thumb in circular motion - then switch thumbs.

Step Six: Press your right fingers together and rub them in a circular motion on your left palm, then switch.

If you're the type of person who has trouble remembering your postcode, let alone a six step handwashing technique, you're not alone. According to the study, even the healthcare professionals who participated had trouble with all the steps. Nearly a third of them were unable to complete the entire process despite "having instructions on the technique in front of them and having their technique observed."

And in case you think this is all a bit over the top (guilty), Jacqui Reilly of the Glasgow Caledonian University, the lead author of the study reminds us that "hand hygiene is the single most important intervention that you can do to prevent health care-associated infection but also to protect yourself and your family from infections and viruses."

Consider us schooled.

- news.com.au