Health Services » Clean Hands Save Lives

Clean Hands Save Lives

Clean Hands Save Lives

Keeping our hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to keep from getting sick and from spreading germs to others.

It is best to wash hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds.

If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands.

Alcohol-based handrubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.

When using an alcohol-based hand rub, apply the product to the palm of one hand and rub hands together. Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

When should I clean my hands?
  • Before preparing or eating food
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning a child who has gone to the bathroom
  • Before and after tending to someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling an animal or animal waste
  • After handling garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
Washing hands with soap and water:
  • Wet your hands with clean running water and and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through to a friend!
  • Rinse hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
  • If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
  • Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.
Cleaning hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizers:
  • When hands are visibly dirty, they should be washed with soap and clean running water when available.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands.
  • Alcohol-based handrubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.
  • When using an alcohol-based handrub, apply product to the palm of one hand and rub hands together. Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.
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