Hand Washing Steps

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Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds using warm running water and soap.


Wash under fingernails, between fingers, back of hands and wrists.


Rinse your hands well under warm running water.


Dry your hands completely. In the home, change hand washing towels often.

 In Public Bathrooms

  • Dry your hands with a single-use paper towel (or with hot air blow dryer).
  • If towel dispenser has a handle, be sure to roll the paper down before you wash your hands. This helps to ensure that you will not pick up new germs from the handle.
  • For hand-held faucets, turn off water using a paper towel instead of bare hands so you will not pick up new germs on your clean hands.
  • Open the bathroom door with the same paper towel.

 Always Practice Healthy Habits

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, or cough/sneeze into your upper sleeve. Immediately throw away used tissues, then wash hands.
  • Teach and show children how to wash hands correctly.

 When to Wash Hands

​Wash Hands After:

  • Coughing, sneezing, or touching objects and surfaces. You can also use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Using the bathroom or helping a child use the bathroom
  • Changing a diaper; wash the child’s hands too
  • Handling items soiled with body fluids or wastes such as blood, drool, urine, stool, or discharge from nose or eyes
  • Arriving home from day care, friend’s home, outing, or school
  • Cleaning up messes
  • Handling a sick child
  • Touching an animal or pet

Wash hands before:

  • Preparing or serving food
  • Eating or drinking
Wash Your Hands OftenIt's the most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of illness. Washing hands is more effective than hand sanitizer.
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