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Correct Handwashing Technique

Correct Handwashing Technique Correct Handwashing Technique

Overview

Proper hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs that can cause illness. To help prevent illness, always wash your hands after using the bathroom and before handling food. Even if your hands are not visibly soiled, you should wash them after activities that are likely to transfer germs to your skin, such as coughing and sneezing, caring for a sick person, treating a wound, changing a diaper, handling animals or touching garbage, recommends the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

Step 1

Place your hands under running water and wet them thoroughly. The CDC recommends using warm water for hand washing when it is available.

Step 2

Remove your hands from the running water. Apply soap and scrub all surfaces of your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds while working the soap into a lather. Be sure to clean between your fingers and under your fingernails.

Step 3

Rinse your hands well under the clean running water. Position your hands so the water runs down your hands and into the sink instead of up your arms to your elbows, recommends the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Step 4

Dry your hands well with a paper towel or air dryer, recommends the CDC. If a paper towel is available, use it to turn off the water to avoid recontaminating your hands.

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