The Why, When, and How of Handwashing
According to the Center for Disease Control, handwashing is your best defense against the spread of germs.
The CDC recommends washing your hands before, during, and after prepping food; before eating; before and after caring for a loved one; before and after treating a cut or wound; after using the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after touching an animal or animal waste; after touching garbage; and after changing a diaper or cleaning up after a child.
Also consider washing your hands after touching surfaces in a public space; before and after work; and after using public transportation.
What is the best hand washing technique?
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – the same amount of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice.
- Wet your hands.
- Apply soap and lather well.
- Scrub your hands, including the backs of your hands and in between your fingers. If you’re wearing a ring, make sure to scrub underneath it!
- Rinse your hands well.
- Dry your hands.
If you do not have access to soap and water, consider a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover your hands with the hand sanitizer and rub your hands together until your hands are dry.
Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, but especially with unwashed hands.
For more information on the science behind washing your hands, visit: