How to Wash Your Hands Properly
Most of us don’t pay attention to how we wash our hands. We usually miss spots and take shortcuts without knowing it.
Learn the right way to wash your hands, to wash them properly, every time.
- If you aren’t near a sink, wash your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Put a few drops of hand sanitizer in your palm. Use about a half a teaspoon (3 ml).
- Rub your hands together as it dries. Make sure to get between your fingers, the backs of your hands and under your fingernails until your hands are dry.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you. Use it when you can’t wash your hands in a sink.
- If you have dirt on your hands, you’ll need to wash your hands at the sink with soap.
Hand washing tips
- Before you wash your hands, take off any jewellery.
- When you wash with soap, use regular liquid soap. You don’t need antibacterial soap to remove dirt and germs. Using antibiotics when they aren’t needed can lead to antibiotic resistance – that's when germs get stronger and harder to kill.
- Moisturize your hands. Washing your hands can dry out your skin. If your skin is dry, it can develop small cracks where germs can hide. So put moisturizer on your hands after cleaning them.
When to wash your hands
- Before and after you eat
- Before, during and after you prepare food
- After you use the bathroom or change diapers
- After you blow your nose, sneeze or cough
- Before and after taking care of someone who is sick
- After touching animals, their toys, leashes, or waste (poop)
- After touching something that could be dirty (garbage can, dirty rags, etc.)
- Before and after you clean a wound, give medicine or insert contact lenses
- Whenever your hands look dirty
Hand washing when someone at home is sick
When someone in your home is sick, it's very important to wash your hands properly. Make sure everyone in the home washes their hands often, the right way. Give the sick person their own hand towel to dry their hands. Put out clean hand towels every day: one specifically for the sick person and one for the others. Or use disposable hand towels.