Here’s how to wash your hands and why experts agree you’re not doing it right

Chances are you’re not washing your hands long or often enough. It seems amateur, but a quick rinse with soap and water is not good enough to eliminate all the germs you’re carrying on your hands.

The timing, friction, and use of freshwater are very important. The recommended method from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water.
  • Turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  • Then, rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

If you think you’re doing it right, try singing happy birthday twice to feel how long experts say you should be scrubbing. Obviously, do this every time you’re in a bathroom, but also:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Before eating food.
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.child..
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After feeding pets or handling pet waste.
  • After touching garbage.

Doctors prefer good handwashing over hand sanitizer unless you’re away from a sink and the sanitizer is your only option.

*This story originally appeared on

Coronavirus Preparation & Prevention

Recommended Videos