How do I stop compulsive handwashing?


I am suffering from a problem of excessive hand washing. I wash my hands for hours after using the toilet or touching private parts.  I fear touching things which I touched earlier with dirty hands and wash and rub my body again and again after having sex.

I’m not bothered about about germs, but I believe that if I don’t wash my hands, God will punish me and unfortunate things will happen. Is 15-20 second hand wash enough? Is God really bothered about our hand washing?

I have a very clean heart and mind but what bothers me after touching anything dirty is hand washing. This thing is really bothering me and my family.

Please help me!


There is no direction given by God that requires washing today. Under the Old Testament law, there was a ceremonial washing that took place whenever someone became unclean. See: Uncleanness. When a person when through the cleansing ritual, it wasn't a thorough washing. The person would be sprinkled with a special water.

This isn't to say that people in the Old Testament did not bathe, but the idea of becoming clean after contacting something unclean had a specific purpose that wasn't concerned with physical cleanliness. In the New Testament, the rules regarding uncleanness were not carried over. There is no cleansing ritual today.

Your belief that God requires you to wash is merely something that you made up. Thus, your scrubbing is imposed on yourself. Any consequences for not washing is not coming from God; instead, you are making yourself miserable because you didn't follow through with your self-imposed religion. "These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:23).

Therefore, since you are doing this to yourself, the only person who can stop this is yourself. One way to overcome these compulsions is to have a trusted person work with you, where you do something that triggers your compulsion and then not follow it up with the compulsion. At first, it will be hard to resist, but over time it will gradually become easier.

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