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Proper Handwashing Technique

Proper hand washing can go a long way in preventing the spread of diseases and can even protect against fatal illness. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study to determine the benefits of hand washing and how impactful it can be in preventing the contraction and spread of disease. Some of their most meaningful findings include:

  • Approximately 2.2 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia every year
  • The CDC estimates that proper hand washing could protect 1 out of 3 children who get sick with diarrheal diseases and 1 out of 6 who get sick with pneumonia
  • Respiratory illnesses, like colds, can be reduced in the general population by an estimated 21%

Times to Wash your hands

Frequent hand washing is always a good practice, but it is especially important when you are dealing with children. There are some specific times when you should always wash your hands. The CDC recommends always washing your hands after the following activities:

  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After general cleaning
  • After washing dirty clothes or linens
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After administering any First-Aid
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching garbage

Hand Washing Tips & Techniques

If you ask, most people will say they have known how to wash their hands since before they can remember, but the majority of people do not wash their hands correctly. The following tips reiterate what the video above demonstrates.

Soap & Water Hand Washing

  1. Wet hands with clean running water.
  2. Apply soap to wet hands and rub together until a lather forms.
  3. Rub lathered hands together for 20 seconds, making sure to rub between fingers and under fingernails.
  4. If solid debris remains, continue scrubbing until all debris is removed.
  5. Rinse your hands completely under running water.
  6. Dry hands completely with clean towel or hand dryer.

Hand Sanitizer Washing

Sometimes soap and water are not readily available, but it remains important to clean your hands before or after any of the activities mentioned above. In these situations, the best solution is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

To get the maximum effect from these products it is best to:

  • Apply the solution to the palm of your hand, and
  • Rub your hands together thoroughly, covering all areas including between fingers and around fingernails, until your hands become completely dry.
Instructional Video


Topics: Childcare, Youth Programs