You do so many things with your hands. You play with your friends, work at school, help set the table for dinner… Getting your hands clean is important for protecting yourself against harmful bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to know that you’re doing it right. Just follow these simple steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Washing your hands with regular soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. (Antibacterial soap doesn’t kill all bacteria, and it may help lead to resistant bacteria.) If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers aren’t as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. To use, just apply the product to the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together. Then rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
Don’t use household disinfecting wipes, such as Lysol wipes, on hands. If you use them to clean surfaces, ask an adult to help you. Then rinse the surface and your hands with water.