Proper Hand Washing

It is especially important to wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after you prepare food -- especially raw meat, poultry, seafood products, eggs, and fresh produce;
  • Before you eat;
  • Before and after changing a baby's diaper;
  • After you use the bathroom;
  • After handling animals or animal waste;
  • After sneezing, coughing, or using a handkerchief or tissue;
  • After touching any part of the body the hair of face area, scratching any part of the body, licking the hands, etc.
  • After handling garbage or trash; or 
  • Whenever your hands are dirty.

How you wash your hands is just as important as when you wash them, especially when it comes to eliminating germs. Just rinsing hands quickly is not enough. Follow these steps when you wash your hands:

  • WET your hands with warm water.
    Apply plenty of SOAP.

  • SCRUB your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Wash the front and back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. Scrubbing your hands together loosens germs and dirt and allows them to be washed away.

  • RINSE your hands.

  • DRY your hands with a paper towel.

  • TURN OFF THE WATER with a paper towel.

Unsure about how to be sure you have scrubbed for 20 seconds? Try singing "Happy Birthday" to yourself twice while washing your hands.