Alton Brown's Handwashing Tutorial Is Funny, Informative, and a Little Bit Gory

Brown explains why soap is better than hand sanitizer... then things get gruesome.

In the past few weeks, one thing that has been repeated by literally everyone—by politicians and scientists, by celebrities and athletes, and even by some of your least reliable friends on social media—is the importance of handwashing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Alton Brown host of Good Eats
Noam Galai / Stringer/Getty Images

Make zero mistake: handwashing has always been important, but for some of us it seems it took a global pandemic to take kindergarten-level personal hygiene seriously. But what does proper (and effective) handwashing look like? Good Eats host Alton Brown is here to explain it in a 4-plus minute video that illustrates why soap is a solid line of defense against viruses, that demonstrates how to wash every square inch of your mitts, and that wraps up with one of the most surprising endings you'll see outside of an M. Night Shyamalan flick.

"I'm happy that someone finally wants to talk about handwashing," he says within the first minute. "I've been wanting to do a handwashing video for twenty years, but everybody was like 'Oh no, hygiene's boring, do cheese pulls.' What do you think is going to save us now? Cheese pulls, nanorobots, lasers, hot yoga? I don't think so."

So yeah, what might give us a shot at getting through… all of this is a bar of soap. (Regular soap, Brown emphasizes, not hand sanitizer. "Not the stuff you've been fighting over in drugstore parking lots," he adds.)

Brown says that he actually travels with his own bar of soap, carrying it with him in a small tin. He also keeps his own zip-sealed bag of paper towels handy, to ensure that he can dry his hands properly too. (So take that, Dyson Airblade!) His handwashing technique takes a full 30 seconds to complete, and he adds a few ticks to the 20-second-minimum wash that has previously been suggested. He goes through a number of steps, for the front and backs of the hands, in-between the fingers, and under the nails. There are a lot of five-counts, but it works. And if that fails to do the job? Well, that's where Brown's sense of humor takes a darker turn.

There's a reason why everyone has been telling us to wash our hands, and after Brown's video, we all understand why. Now if he'd just record something to explain why no one needs to buy 400 rolls of toilet paper right now, then we'd be totally set.

Late last week, Brown took to Twitter to announce the second season of Good Eats: Reloaded will premiere in April.

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