Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy!
Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is easy and it is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community, from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these steps every time:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “happy birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Turn water off using clean paper towel.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Using Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations however:
- Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs
- Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy
- Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
How to use hand sanitizer:
- Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
- This should take about 20 seconds.