Helping You and the People Around You to Stay Healthy
Healthy Hand Washing & Drying
Proper Hand Washing and Drying Technique
Hand washing and drying -- including using effective soap, vigorously rubbing hands and thoroughly drying them -- is crucial to good hygiene and outbreak prevention. If you don't wash your hands correctly, you won't remove the bacteria, particularly around the fingers, fingertips and nail folds. And it's precisely these areas that most need cleaning.
Hand Washing Station
Hand washing and drying should be performed at a designated Hand Washing station consisting of:
- Suitable treated and/or filtered warm water source.
- "Hands-free" paper towel dispenser.
- Soap that is non-irritating or sensitizing.
Key Success Factor: The Hand Washing station must be well maintained, with regular cleanup and replenishment of soap and paper towels.
- Moisten hands with warm water.
- Use 1-3 ml. of soap or a soap formulation known to be gentle to skin.
- Total Hand Washing time, including lathering with soap, should be 15-20 seconds.
- A good lather should be developed through vigorous rubbing during the soaping process. Hands should be washed up to the elbow, or should include skin beyond sleeve of protective clothing.
- The friction employed during the washing process aided by soap will loosen bacteria from hands, as well as flakes of skin that may harbor bacteria.
- Rinse well in warm water at an adequate flow rate. During the rinse, hands and fingertips should be positioned down into the sink, with the rinse progressing from elbow or forearm to fingertip. This way, water is drained from the fingertips into the sink.
- It's important to remove all soap residue from hands during rinsing, since prolonged exposure to soap components can cause irritation.
- Thorough and sanitary hand drying will remove most remaining microbial organisms.
- Single-use paper towels, ideally from a hands-free dispenser, have been proven above all other methods to effectively remove most unwanted germs and loose skin cells.
- Dry hands thoroughly, since wet hands can pick up and transfer more contamination than dry hands.
- Avoid contact with contaminated surfaces such as sink, faucet handles, towel dispenser cranks or levers that can result in cross-contamination.
- If the tap or faucet is not "hands-free," then leave the water running while drying hands and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet after drying hands.
- Fingernails should be kept trimmed and clean.
- Use a fingernail brush or fingernail-cleaning tool only when necessary, and choose a brush with specific ability to clean deep deposits of soil.
- Fingernail brushes are easily contaminated, so they should be sanitized between uses.