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Simplicity to Washing Your Hands

By: Dr. Vicky Ton, PT, DPT


As 2020 has continued through the Covid-19 pandemic, one thing has been consistent from the beginning: washing your hands can keep you safe and healthy! We have a very simple and efficient way to keep healthy and slow the spread of germs, but how can we be sure we are doing this effectively?


Simple Steps to Hand Washing:

1. Wet hands with warm water.

2. Apply soap and rub hands together until bubbles and lather forms on palms and backs of hands.

3. Interlace fingers to scrub in between all fingers.

4. Wash fingertips and nails by swirling into the palm of the other hand, switch.

5. Grasp thumb with other hand to wash around each thumb.

6. Wash all the way past both wrists.

7. Rinse with warm water.

8. Use paper towel to turn off the faucet.

9. Dry off hands.

10. YOU’RE DONE! Clean and ready to go.

Washing hands should take at least 20 seconds in total!

Washing your hands with warm soap and water is the best way to clean your hands, but if it is not readily available, hand sanitizers are an effective alternative. The hand sanitizer should be alcohol-based and contain at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers are less effective when the hands are visibly dirty and may not remove enough of the dirt from the hands in total. Most hand sanitizers will not be able to completely rid of all germs. Hand sanitizer is an acceptable alternative until washing with soap and water is available.

Simple Steps to Using Hand Sanitizer:

1. Apply product to palms and backs of hands.

2. Interlace fingers to scrub in between all fingers.

3. Clean fingertips and nails by swirling into the palm of the other hand.

4. Grasp thumb with other hand to clean around each thumb.

5. Scrub all the way past both wrists.

6. Continue until hands are completely dry.

Important times to clean your hands:

· After visiting public spaces: public transportation, grocery stores, playgrounds, etc.

· After using the toilet

· Before and after helping a child use the toilet

· After changing diapers

· After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing

· Before and after touching your face or eyes

· Before, during, and after handling or preparing food

· Before eating food

· Before and after treating any cuts or scrapes

Effective handwashing will help decrease the spread of germs and infections. During this time, we should do all we can to ensure our safety and the safety of others to help decrease the likelihood of falling ill. The CDC reports handwashing can reduce respiratory illnesses in the general population by 16-21%.


Following these easy steps will allow you to safely complete all of your daily errands and to keep you and your loved ones safer while navigating shared spaces with others during this time. Simple steps and only 20 seconds at a time to keep everyone a little bit safer every day!

For more information please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

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