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Hand-wash

Hand-wash is a verb meaning to wash something by hand. Hand soap can sometimes be referred to as handwash or hand wash. When talking about the act of washing one’s hands, there is not a official listing in most dictionaries. Medical reference books use the spelling of handwashing, but most other sources, including spell check, use hand washing.

When describing objects that may only be hand-washed, it is most common to say hand wash only. A water source used for hand washing, usage seems to be a mix between hand wash, handwash, hand-wash, handwashing, and hand washing. All are equally correct as no standard has been set.


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This word does seem to be in flux at the moment, with the single word on the rise in usage. All forms have risen in usage in the last thirty years.

Examples

Machine-or hand-wash your cotton bags in hot water and air-dry. [CNN]

We don’t have indoor plumbing, although we have a running water hand-wash station. [Spectrum]

As the beginning of the school year approaches, parents need to remind their children about the importance of hand washing. [Newswise]

Handshakes are more common — but they must be followed by good handwashing, she added. [Toronto Star]

The company, which also sells Carex handwash, Charles Worthington shampoos and St Tropez spray tan, declined to give more details about its cost-cutting measures. [Reuters]

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Comments

  1. Interesting. Thanks for history lesson. ;-)

  2. Nathan King says:

    Nice post, but I have a question.
    When transcribing the CNN quote (the first example shown) for this post, why was the misspelling of ‘cotton’ corrected but not the missing space after the first hyphen?

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