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Handwashing Do’s and Don’ts

Handwashing Do’s

DO wet hands thoroughly under clean running water, either warm or cold.

DO apply mild soap to hands and work into a lather, rubbing hands together for at least 20 seconds. Together, the soap and the friction created by rubbing loosen and remove dirt and germs.

DO cover all surfaces of the hands, including the front and back, the wrists, between fingers and under fingernails.

DO keep hands and forearms lower than the elbows to prevent water from flowing from the most contaminated area to the least contaminated area.

DO dry hands thoroughly with an air dryer or clean paper towel. If possible, turn off the water faucet using the towel. To prevent chapping, pat rather than rub hands when drying.

Handwashing Don’ts

DON’T use hot water to wash hands. Hot water has not been proven to remove more germs and tends to promote chapping of the skin, making it more susceptible to bacteria.

DON’T allow water to run over hands while lathering. This washes soap away and makes handwashing less effective.

DON’T touch the sink surface after washing your hands. It is contaminated with microbes.

DON’T spend extra money on antibacterial soap. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective at killing germs than regular soap, and may even promote the development of resistant bacteria.

DON’T skip handwashing if soap and running water are not available. Instead, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.



*Article adapted from RediClinic

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