Proper Handwashing Techniques & Tips

 Proper handwashing is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other people. The first full week in December is National Handwashing Awareness Week. To help celebrate and help raise awareness of the importance of handwashing, we will share some helpful tips and techniques to stay healthy.

What is the right way to wash your hands?

There are five steps you should remember when washing your hands to ensure that you wash your hands properly. The first step is to wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. After applying the soap you want to rub your hands together and make a lather and scrub them well, make sure you scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. Make sure you continue this process for at least 20 seconds, you can count or hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands under running water. The final step is to dry your hands by using a clean towel or air dryer. If you follow these steps you will decrease the chance of getting yourself sick or spreading germs to other people.

The Five Steps to Washing Your Hands

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (hot or cold) and apply soap.
  2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds, hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

When should you wash your hands? 

  • Before, during, and after eating preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

When possible it is best to use soap and water. Although there are times that soap and water are not available, in those cases it is recommended to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol. Sanitizers will reduce the amount of germs in some situations, but they do not eliminate all types of germs. When using a hand sanitizer you want to apply the product to the palm of one hand and rub your hands together like you would with soap and continue until your hands are completely dry.

Remember the five steps the next time you go to wash your hands to help reduce the spread of infection and illness. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community. We have made a quick video filled with handwashing tips for you to watch and share with your friends, family and colleagues.


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