What is the correct way to wash your hands?
- First wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap. Place the bar soap on a rack and allow it to drain. Antibacterial soap is not necessary. Antibacterial soaps with triclosan may change the balance of bacteria on your skin and may even make bacteria harder to kill. Plain soap (without antibacterial chemicals such as triclosan) removes bad bacteria from your hands, but leaves enough good bacteria to protect you.
- Next rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue for 10 - 15 seconds or about the length of a little tune like “Happy Birthday.” It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs.
- Rinse well and dry your hands with a disposable towel or air dryer.
- Turn off the faucet with a disposable towel.
Alcohol-based handrubs are effective, usually
Alcohol-based handrubs, like Purell, are effective when your hands are not visibly soiled. Wash your hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly soiled. Alcohol-based handrubs provide several advantages over handwashing with soap and water. They:
- require less time than handwashing.
- act quickly to kill micro-organisms on hands.
- are more effective than handwashing with soap and water.
- are more accessible than sinks.
- reduce bacterial counts on hands.
- do not promote antimicrobial resistance.
- are less irritating to skin than soap and water.
- can even improve the condition of your skin.
When using an alcohol-based handrub, apply product to palm of one hand and rub hands together, covering all surfaces of hands and fingers, until hands are dry.
Note that the volume needed to reduce the number of bacteria on hands varies by product.