Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day is observed annually on October 15th and encourages everyone to wash their hands more often. It’s a day that has only been around for just over a decade but has already made a significant impact.

Across the world, community leaders spread the word about the importance of handwashing, take time to build tippy taps and sinks, and demonstrate just how easy it is for a person to keep their hands clean.

This initiative has already reduced the spread of certain diseases, especially those that are transmitted through the handling of food. Anyone who wants to participate in this day can do so by taking the time to introduce children to the importance of handwashing or by spreading the word about this holiday.

The History of Global Handwashing Day

This holiday was created in 2008 by the Global Handwashing Partnership. They created the day to promote a global vision of everyone washing their hands with soap. Studies have shown that handwashing can reduce respiratory and intestinal diseases by as much as 50%, as long as it’s done properly with soap and water.

Today, this holiday is celebrated by over 200 million people. Tippy taps and sinks are erected for communities, and people are shown the proper way to wash their hands with soap and water.

Facts About Handwashing & Soap

Just about everyone knows the concept of washing your hands with soap, but few people are aware of the details of both of these things. Fortunately, we are aware of the little things that make handwashing with soap so important, and that’s why we’ve decided to list the following facts on the subject. We hope that everyone finds the following facts interesting and informative.

  • The average person comes into contact with 300 surfaces every hour. This exposes them to 840,000 germs.
  • Only about 1 in 20 people wash their hands properly.
  • Most people only wash their hands for 6 seconds, when they should be washing them for at least 20 seconds.
  • About 15% of men and 7% of women don’t wash their hands at all after using the bathroom.
  • It’s been estimated that fecal matter can be found on 14% of banknotes, 16% of cell phones, and 11% of credit cards.
  • Ancient Egyptians used a substance that was similar to modern soap. That was almost 5,000 years ago.
  • The word “soap” comes from the fictional Mount Sapo, which can be found in an ancient legend.
  • Italy, France, and Spain were the soap capitals of the world during the 19th century.
  • In 1966, Procter & Gamble spent over $160 million on television ads for soap.
  • The automatic soap dispenser was invented by Guey-Chuan Shiau from Taiwan.

Observing Global Handwashing Day

Every year, there’s a new theme for Global Handwashing Day. In 2009, the theme was “Spread the Word, Not the Germs,” and in 2010, it was “Children and Schools.” In 2020, the theme was “Hand Hygiene for All,” and in 2021, the theme was “Our Future is at Hand — Let’s Move Forward Together.” These themes help focus the efforts of the activities that are performed each year for local and global communities.

People across the world celebrate this holiday by helping communities develop their handwashing infrastructure by building sinks and tippy taps, and by spreading the word about how handwashing can prevent disease. Some communities are even provided with soap to observe this day. On social media, the hashtag #GlobalHandwashingDay is used to spread the word about this holiday.

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 15 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
October 15 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
October 15 Sunday
Health & Body