How to wash your hands—properly

How to wash your hands—properly

Think you know? You might be surprised!

The best way to protect yourself—and others—from getting sick, handwashing is pretty basic advice. But, just as a reminder, we’re sharing some useful information about when and how.

When to wash your hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling shared objects
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • Before inserting/removing contact lenses
  • Before flossing your teeth
  • After helping someone else (like kids) with any personal care

How to wash your hands

  • Remove any hand or arm jewellery.
  • Wet hands with warm water.
  • Apply plain soap (avoid antibacterial soaps) to hands and rub together for 20 seconds (the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday—twice).
  • Wash the front and back of hands, as well as between fingers and under nails.
  • Rinse hands well for 10 seconds under warm running water, using a rubbing motion.
  • Wipe and dry hands gently with a paper towel.
  • Turn off the tap using the paper towel to avoid re-contaminating your hands. In public bathrooms, use the same paper towel to open the door when you leave.

When soap and water isn’t available

Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol (check the label to be sure) is a second option.

  • Apply to the palm of one hand (read the label for correct amount).
  • Rub hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

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