How to REALLY Wash Your Hands

Our hands are great at picking up a lot of things - including germs!

True or false: Soap and water work best at removing dirt and germs.

(Hint: It's true.)

Soap and water PLUS 20 seconds of hand washing is the best way to get rid of all germs, dirt, and chemicals or other materials you may get on your hands.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. BUT:

  • 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.

WHEN SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?

Washing often helps to rid your hands of germs and keep you healthy. But here are some important times to wash:

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

WHAT DO WE MISS IF WE DON'T WASH WELL?

Most of us miss a lot when we wash our hands. 

prevent illness, wash hands

Wash Your Hands to Remove Germs

Use warm water
Lather with soap
Rub palms together
Scrub the back of your hands
Get your thumbs
Between your fingers
Scrub your nails
And your wrists
Rinse with warm water
Dry with clean towel or air dry