Handwashing is an important way to keep hands clean and to help prevent the spread of germs. It is especially important before and after preparing food, as well as after sneezing or coughing. Handwashing is also essential to avoid spreading the new coronavirus (CoV-9) or other germs to others.
The Centers for Disease Control recommend that people wash their hands frequently throughout the day, particularly when handling foods and before eating. But many people don’t follow the correct order of steps for handwashing, making it less effective at removing germs.
Start by turning off the water and applying soap to all surfaces of your hands, rubbing your fingers together to create a lather. Wash for at least 20 seconds, focusing on the backs of your hands and under your fingernails.
It’s important to use a good amount of soap when washing your hands. It’s equally important to rinse your hands well, ensuring that all soap is removed from the skin. After rinsing, dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel, not a reusable cloth.
If you don’t have access to a sink, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds, paying special attention to the fingertips and under the nails. Avoid hand sanitizers that contain fragrances, dyes or other ingredients. They can be irritating to the skin and may disrupt the natural skin flora, which could make it easier for germs to live on your hands.