Washing your hands is easy, and it’s 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.
You can help yourself and others stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After touching garbage.
Follow 5 Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and 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.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.