December 2, 2019

Caregiver Tip: Handwashing

Hand-washing is one of the best and easiest ways to protect yourself and those around you from getting sick.  It is especially important that you remember to  wash your hands during these key times when the risk of spreading infection is high:

  • Before handling, preparing, and eating food, as well as during and after preparing food.
  • Before AND after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Before AND after treating someone who has a cut or wound.
  • After using the toilet, changing a diaper, or assisting someone with using the toilet.
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • After touching an animal or handling animal food or waste.
  • After touching garbage.

Follow these steps to effectively clean your hands and reduce the spread of germs:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing the soap between them. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under the nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel (or air dry).

Washing with soap and water is the best way to remove germs in most situations. For situations when soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. While hand sanitizers may quickly reduce the number of germs in most situations, they do NOT eliminate of all types of germs. They may be less effective when hands are visibly dirty, and they also may not remove certain harmful chemicals.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: When and How to Wash Your Hands