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Category: Safety Information

The Importance of Effective Handwashing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Proper handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses. It's a simple yet crucial practice that plays a significant role in maintaining good health. To ensure your handwashing routine is effective, follow these essential steps: 

Wet Your Hands: Start by wetting your hands with clean, running water. Adjust the temperature to your comfort. 

Apply Soap: Apply enough soap to create a good lather. Any type of soap – whether liquid, bar, or antibacterial – is effective in removing germs. 

Rub Palms Together: Rub your palms together vigorously, ensuring the soap covers the entire surface of your hands. 

Scrub Between Fingers: Interlace your fingers and scrub between them. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, thumbs, and wrists. 

Clean Under Fingernails: Use your nails to scrub the opposite palm to clean under your fingernails. 

Rub for at Least 20 Seconds: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Singing "Happy Birthday" twice can help track the time. 

Mind the Technique, Not Just Time: While the 20-second rule is helpful, focusing on technique is equally vital. Ensure you're scrubbing all areas of your hands thoroughly, emphasizing quality over speed. 

Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse your hands well under clean, running water to wash away the soap and germs. 

Dry with a Clean Towel: Use a clean towel to dry your hands thoroughly. If possible, use a disposable towel or an air dryer. 

Key Tips for Effective Handwashing: 

  • Frequency Matters: Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating, after using the restroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after touching surfaces in public places. 
  • Nail Hygiene: Keep your fingernails trimmed and clean to prevent the accumulation of germs under them. 
  • Hand Sanitizer as an Alternative: When soap and water aren't available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is a good substitute. 
  • Teach Children Proper Technique: Educate kids on the importance of thorough handwashing and ensure they follow the steps correctly. 

Effective handwashing is a simple yet powerful tool in preventing the spread of infections. By making it a habit to wash your hands properly and regularly, you contribute significantly to your own health and that of those around you. 

Remember, clean hands save lives! If you're concerned you're getting sick or not feeling your best, CaroMont Health Urgent Care locations have multiple locations and extend hours to help you feel better, when you need it. Learn more here.