Hand Hygiene: The Basics

Hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections, like the cold and flu. You can spread germs casually by touching another person or when you touch contaminated objects and surfaces and then touch your face (mouth, eyes and nose).

Proper hand washing techniques include using an adequate amount of soap, rubbing the hands together to create friction, and rinsing under running water. The use of gloves is not a substitute for hand washing.

How to wash your hands

  • Wet your hands with running water.
  • Apply liquid, powder or bar soap.
  • Lather well.
  • Rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
  • If possible, use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.

How to use alcohol based sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don’t require water, are an acceptable alternative when soap and water aren’t available. If you use a hand sanitizer, make sure the product contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Then follow these simple steps:

  • Apply enough of the product to the palm of your hand to wet your hands completely.
  • Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces, until your hands are dry.

Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are another effective option. Again, look for a product that contains a high percentage of alcohol. If your hands are visibly dirty, however, wash with soap and water.

A simple way to stay healthy

Hand-washing doesn’t take much time or effort, but it offers great rewards in terms of preventing illness. Adopting this simple habit can play a major role in protecting your health. Our online hand hygiene course is also a great way to ensure your employees are well acquainted with the proper techniques.