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Global Handwashing Day – A Guide to washing your hands

To mark Global Handwashing Day here is our guide for washing your hands the right way. Handwashing is the easiest way to prevent the spread of germs and infections, such as the common cold, meningitis, diarrhoea and hepatitis A. It only requires soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitiser to reduce spread of bacteria. Keeping your hands clean consistently is crucial for preventing yourself and others around you from unwanted illnesses.


When should you wash your hands?

Throughout the day we touch many objects and come in contact with people that we often forget to remind ourselves to wash our hands or sometimes we do not even know when we are supposed to wash our hands after:

  • After using the toilet
  • Before eating
  • After touching animals
  • Treating wounds or caring for someone who is sick
  • After sneezing , coughing or blowing your nose
  • Handling household waste or garbage
  • After changing a baby
  • After shaking someone hand
  • Before, during and after preparing food

How to wash your hands

  1. Wet your hands with running water it can be cold or warm.
  2. Apply soap and gently rub your hands together with the soap. Make sure the soap reaches the back of your hands, nails and fingers.
  3. For 20 seconds lather and scrub your hands.
  4. Rinse the soap off your hands with clean running water.
  5. Dry your hands thoroughly using a hand dryer, towel or air dry them.


Washing your hands this way will reduce the number of germs that your hands may come in contact with. It is also important to remember that hand sanitisers do not eliminate germs but only reduces them quickly. If you have a skin irritation after washing your hands please visit your GP for help and advice.  More importantly, washing your hands helps keep you clean and the environment around you.

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