A doctor giving advice

How Long should you wash your hands for?

Do you know the correct hand washing procedure? You’ve been doing it all of your life – but have you been hand washing correctly?

Did you know that to get your hands properly clean, you'll need to wash them for around 20 seconds to a minute – or roughly the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice?  You may not want to sing it out loud, but it's a handy reminder for you to take the time you need to wash your hands!

Good hand hygiene can significantly reduce the spread of germs.  Follow these 8 steps to perfect your hand washing technique.procedure.

Correct sequence for hand washing

  1. Wet hands with clean warm running water
  2. Apply a small amount of soap
  3. Rub your palms together (away from the water)
  4. Rub your fingers and thumbs and bits in between
  5. Rub your nails on your palms
  6. Rub the back of each hand
  7. Rinse with clean running water
  8. Dry with a clean towel or paper towel

With so much going on, it’s easy to forget about washing hands. So try to make it a routine so you get into the habit – leave yourself a note, draw on your hand, set a reminder on your phone, or write out the list until it sticks!

Hand hygiene on-the-go

Of course, you can’t always get to soap and water when you’re out and about. But this is no excuse for poor hygiene. You can use an alcohol based hand sanitiser which kills 99.99% of germs without water.

Apply a teaspoon-sized amount to your palm and massage it over both hands until it has completely gone.

This is especially useful before eating, and if you’ve been in busy places like shops, parks and on public transport. Hand sanitising wipes are also a handy alternative for on-the-go protection. But remember, you should still wash your hands if they are visibly dirty. Use of hand sanitisers by children should be done under adult supervision.