How to wash your hands

Washing your hands should be something we do on a regular basis throughout the day. It is one of the best ways to prevent germs from spreading and to protect yourself from illnesses such as the flu.

A man washing his hands with soap at home

When should I be washing my hands?

You should be washing your hands:

  • Before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
  • Before eating or handling food
  • After blowing your note, sneezing or coughing
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing a nappy
  • After touching any animal, including pets.
  • After travelling on public transport

If you do not have access to clean running water and soap, then using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after any of these situations will also work.

How to wash your hands properly

Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria and it is advisable to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds – or as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice!

A little girl with soapy hands

Your step-by-step guide to clean hands

  1. Wet your hands with water
  2. Apply enough soap to cover your hands directly into your palms
  3. Rub your hands together
  4. Rub the back of one hand with the other and clean in between your fingers
  5. Rub your hands together again and between your fingers
  6. Rub the back of your fingers against the palm of your hand
  7. Pay special attention to your thumbs by rubbing one with the other
  8. Clean the tips of your fingers by rubbing them on the palm of your hands
  9. Thoroughly rinse your hands with water
  10. Completely dry your hands with a paper towel, use this towel to turn off the tap and immediately throw away the paper towel.
  11. Avoid dry hands by applying a rich moisturiser to your hands after every wash. You can find out more about caring for dry hands here.