Proper Hand Washing Steps and Guidelines

Proper Hand Washing Steps and Guidelines

Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infectious and other emerging diseases. For more information on hand washing please visit the Centers for Disease Control Hand Washing website.

When should I wash my hands?

  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching garbage.
  • Before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Before eating.

What is the correct way to wash my hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make lather and scrub well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing 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 running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air.

Is hand sanitizer effective too?

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty.

How do I use hand sanitizer correctly?

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

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