Hand washing is the single most important step in preventing the spread of diseases. Since your hands come in contact with nearly any bodily fluid that you might have, not to mention other sources of germs, it is extremely important to wash them often. We all use our hands much more frequently than we realize and they come into contact with millions of germs a day.

So, do you think you wash your hands enough? Are you doing it properly? This step-by-step guide will show you how to wash your hands effectively so you know that you are minimizing your risk of catching and spreading illnesses.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 30 seconds

  1. Turn on water, preferably to a warm, comfortable temperature.
  2. Lather and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds (Sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice).
  3. Be sure to wash well between fingers and under nails, although using a nail brush is not necessary.
  4. Rinse all soap off hands.
  5. Using two paper towels, dry hands completely.
  6. Turn off faucet with paper towels, then discard towels in garbage can.


  1. Hot water is not necessary.
  2. Hand washing is most effective at washing away germs, not necessarily killing them.
  3. Antibacterial soaps have not been proven to be more effective than regular soap, so use what you like.
  4. Getting hands completely dry is essential in the hand washing process. Wet hands are more likely than even dirty hands to carry germs.

What You Need: Water, soap, paper towels

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