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How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Hand-washing promotes good hygiene habit and protects you from germs and infections, but it works only if it’s done the right way. Use this step-by-step guide to make sure you're washing your hands correctly!

Updated

How to Wash your Hands Properly | Cleanipedia

We all know how important hand-washing is. It’s the first and simplest protection you can give yourself and your family against germs and infections. This is because, according to leading national and international health organisations, whenever anyone coughs or sneezes, they release droplets that can travel up to 3ft. These may also settle on nearby surfaces, which your hands touch through the day. And if your hands are unwashed and you touch your face with them, you can easily catch infections. That’s why it’s important to wash your hands frequently and correctly.

How Frequently Must You Wash Your Hands?

It is good to wash your hands as frequently as possible. It is recommended that you always wash your hands before and after certain tasks, such as preparing meals, eating, using the bathroom, touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth), coughing or sneezing, leaving and returning home, cleaning, helping another person, and so on.

Must You Use Soap or Sanitiser?

The most effective way to wash your hands involves soap and water. If you are travelling or you don’t have access to soap and water, and still want to clean your hands after touching a surface or handling money, using the bathroom or shaking hands with colleagues, you can use a hand sanitiser, which works just as effectively. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser like the ones available from Lifebuoy to clean your hands in such situations.

These steps show you how you can scrub your hands correctly and thoroughly.  

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Step 1: Dampen Your Hands and Apply Soap

Generate enough lather to cover the entire surface of your hand. Try to get the soap all across the thumbs, between the fingers, underneath the nails and on the back of your hands. Scrubbing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds will ensure that you get rid of as many germs as possible.  

Step 2: Wash Your Palms

Rub your hands palm-to-palm vigorously, first with one hand over the top of the other, and then by switching hands.

Step 3: Wash Your Fingers

Interlace your fingers, palm-to-palm, to clean the base of your fingers. Then, interlace your fingers from the back of the hand too, i.e. by placing the palm of your right hand over the back of the left hand and scrubbing the backs of your fingers. Then switch hands.

Step 4: Wash Your Thumbs

Make a fist around your left thumb with your right hand and gently twist back and forth. Repeat for the other thumb.

Step 5: Scrub Under Your Fingernails

Using either your other hand or a bristled brush, clean under your fingernails and around the cuticles. Then switch hands.

Step 6: Dry Your Hands

Dry your hands thoroughly using a clean towel. Avoid rubbing your hands on your clothes to dry them. 

Washing your hands is a simple activity. But washing the right way is important to prevent the spread of disease-causing germs. Stay clean, stay healthy!

Key Step:

If you have kids, try making up a 20-second song that they can sing while washing their hands. For instance, they can wash their hands while singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice. 

Sources:

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

https://www.nhs.uk/video/pages/how-to-wash-hands.aspx 

Originally published