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How To Perform Proper Handwashing Technique


Updated June 02, 2014

Did you know that handwashing, when done correctly, is one of the best ways to prevent infections (like the flu or common cold) and lower your risk of COPD exacerbation? Most people have no problem grasping this simple "task at hand," but many are unaware that the key to washing your hands properly to ward off potential infection is all in the technique. Learn how to wash your hands the right way by following these simple "rules of thumb":
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 1 Minute

Here's How:

  1. Wet your hands using warm, running water. Add soap.
  2. During the handwashing process, rub your hands vigorously for a minimum of 20 seconds, paying special attention to the backs of your hands, wrists, in between your fingers and underneath your fingernails.
  3. Rinse well while leaving the water running.
  4. With the water continuing to run, use a single-use towel and pat your hands dry.
  5. Turn off the water faucet using the paper towel covering your clean hands to prevent recontamination.


  1. Hand sanitizers should not be used in place of handwashing.
  2. Use hand sanitizers that contain 60-90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol as an addition to proper handwashing only.
  3. Use your paper towel that you dry your hands with to open the restroom door when you leave the bathroom as to not recontaminate your hands.
  4. To find what activities should prompt handwashing read more here.
  5. When you are washing your hands, count slowly from 1 to 20 in order to gain the maximum benefit from handwashing.

What You Need

  • Soap
  • Warm Running Water
  • Sink Basin
  • Single-use towel
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