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What is the best way to wash my hands?

This article was updated on April 25, 2024

Washing your hands properly is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs, including viruses like COVID-19. Here's a step-by-step guide to washing your hands effectively:

  1. Wet Your Hands: Turn on the tap and wet your hands with clean, running water. Adjust the water temperature to a comfortable level.
  2. Apply Soap: Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of your hands. You can use liquid soap or bar soap, whichever you prefer.
  3. Lather: Rub your hands together to create a lather. Make sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Scrub Thoroughly: Pay special attention to areas where germs are commonly found, such as your fingertips, thumbs, and the palms of your hands. Use friction to help remove dirt, grease, and germs from your skin.
  5. Rinse: Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water to remove all soap and lather. Make sure to rinse off all traces of soap from your hands.
  6. Dry: Dry your hands completely using a clean towel or air dryer. Drying your hands thoroughly helps remove any remaining germs and reduces the risk of transferring germs to surfaces or objects.

It's important to wash your hands frequently throughout the day, particularly in the following situations:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a wound or injury
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching surfaces or objects in public places
  • After touching animals or handling animal waste

By washing your hands properly and regularly, you can help protect yourself and others from the spread of germs, including viruses like COVID-19.

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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