Handwashing Best Practices

Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use the cleanest water possible, for example from an improved source.* Use an alcohol-based hand rub that contains 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Illustration of hands underneath water faucet

1. Wet hands with water.

Illustration of hands using bar and liquid soap

2. Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.

Illustration of hands moving in a circular motion with bubbles

3. Rub hands together and scrub everywhere.

Illustration of hands with bubbles

4. Wash the front and back of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails.

Illustration of hands underneath water faucet

5. Rinse hands with water.

Illustration of hands drying with cloth

6. Dry hands completely using a single-use towel or air dry.

Why should you scrub between your fingers?

Why should you scrub between your fingers and all over and under your hands, as if you have something sticky on them? This is the recommended practice because the COVID-19 organism itself is tightly surrounded by a layer of fat and proteins. The soap dissolves the fatty layer and scrubbing breaks the protein apart preventing it from entering your skin! If soap is unavailable a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can be used. First source of defense though, is good old fashioned soap.

How long should you scrub?

The best practice is 20 seconds long or long enough to recite the “Happy Birthday” verse while washing your hands with soap and clean water, will do the trick of eliminating the coronavirus.

PDF Download: Handwashing Best Practices from the CDC




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