Hand Washing Techniques

You can’t see them, but germs hang out on your hands 24/7. While most are harmless, others can cause serious infection like influenza. These germs can enter your body when your contaminated hands come into contact with your nose, mouth, eyes or open wounds. Thankfully, you can avoid an infection simply by washing your hands. Read on to find out how.

Yes, there is a right way to wash hands

Proper hand washing means washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. The constant rubbing action helps soap break down the grease and dirt that carry most germs. This way, your hands don’t just smell fresh, but you’ll also reduce the germ count on your hands by up to 99%.

Follow these 8 steps to clean hands:

  • ​Palm to palm
  • Between fingers
  • Back of hands
  • Base of thumbs
  • Back of fingers
  • Fingernails
  • Wrists
  • Rinse and wipe dry

When to wash your hands

Make sure you wash your hands whenever you do the following:

Before and after
  • Handling or preparing food
  • Meals
  • Attending to a child or sick person
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • ​Using the toilet
  • Wiping or blowing your nose
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Changing diapers
  • Touching common surfaces like lift buttons, handles and table tops

​Any type of Soap is fine

Bar soaps should be kept in a self-draining holder that is cleaned thoroughly before new bars are put in, while liquid soap containers should be used until empty and cleaned before refilling.

Or try your hands at sanitisers

When travelling overseas or going to places where clean water and soap are not available, try using hand sanitisers for an added hygiene boost after washing your hands with soap. The most common hand sanitisers are alcohol-based.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water to make sure all dirt is removed. Alcohol-based sanitisers work best on clean skin.
  • Dry your hands after washing, as water dilutes the alcohol in the sanitiser and lessens its effectiveness.
  • Apply a coin-sized amount of sanitiser on your hands. Rub them together, ensuring that both hands are covered with sanitiser, including the area under your nails.
  • Keep going for about 15 to 20 seconds, or until your hands feel dry.
Your hands may be clean after washing with soap and water, but also take these precautions when drying them:
  • Avoid using sponges or non-disposable cleaning cloths to wipe your hands unless you clean them on a daily basis and dry them regularly. Remember, germs thrive on moist surfaces.
  • Do not use a common hand towel. Always use disposable towels and hand dryers in public washrooms.
  • Do not use a single damp cloth to wash a group of children’s hands.