Americans know how to protect themselves when they hear about an outbreak of the flu. According to a national survey, in response to a flu virus sweeping the country, 66 percent of adults wash their hands more thoroughly or more frequently.

However, the Bradley Corp. Healthy Hand Washing Survey also reveals most Americans could use a gentle reminder to continue lathering up for a full 20 seconds since 55 percent wash up for just 15 seconds or less. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest singing “Happy Birthday” twice to allow enough time to remove and rinse off germs.

“Good hand hygiene is one of the most important and easiest things people can do to reduce the risk of getting sick and spreading germs to others. Using soap and warm water for a good 20 seconds is highly effective in removing bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing microorganisms from the surface of the skin,” says medical microbiologist Michael McCann, Ph.D., a professor of biology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.