Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Hand-Washing
Hand-washing is a simple and effective way to help prevent
diseases, such as colds, flu, and food poisoning.
Wash your hands after:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the
following steps for hand-washing:
You may want to leave the water running while you dry your hands on a
paper towel. Then use the paper towel as a barrier between the faucet
and your clean hands when you turn off the water.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand wipe that contains at least 60% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol. Carry one or both with you when you travel,
and keep them in your car or purse. These products can help reduce the number of germs on your hands, but they do not get rid of all types of germs.
If you use sanitizer, rub your hands and fingers until they are dry.
You don't need to use water. The alcohol quickly kills many types of germs on your
Other Works Consulted
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010, updated 2011). Keeping hands clean. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/hand/handwashing.html.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Current as ofMay 24, 2016
Current as of:
May 24, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.