How to Wash Your Hands Properly
Here's Why Washing Your Hands Is Important
- When your hands are dirty
- Before, during, and after you prepare food
- Before you eat
- After you use the bathroom
- After you change a diaper
- After handling animals or animal waste
- After taking out the trash
- After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
- Before and after treating a wound
- When caring for someone who is sick
- First, wet your hands with warm or cold water and apply soap.
- Next, rub your hands together vigorously to create a lather. Scrub all surfaces of your hands, including the back of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers. Also clean under your fingernails to help control germs. Keep fingernails trimmed and short.
- Continue for at least 20 seconds or about the length of a little tune (for example: sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice). It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs.
- Rinse your hands well and dry them with a clean paper towel, clean towel, or air dryer.
- If possible, use the paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
United States Department of Health and Human Services http://www.hhs.gov
Canadian National Occupation Health and Safety Resource http://www.ccohs.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php
Guinan M, McGuckin M, Ali Y. The effect of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary schools. Am J Infect Control. 2002 Jun;30(4):217-20.
Keeping your hands clean on a cruise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/pub/Handwashing/HandwashingTips.htm. Last updated July 20, 2010. Accessed December 15, 2010.
Wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/. Last updated December 15, 2010. Accessed December 15, 2010.
The SNAP Toolkit. School Network for Absenteeism Prevention website. available at: http://www.itsasnap.org/index.asp.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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