How to wash and dry hands

Page last updated: 03 March 2015

How to wash and dry hands (PDF 125 KB)

  • Remove jewellery and cover abrasions
  • Wet hands with warm water, then apply soap or liquid soap
Lather for 15–20 seconds
  • Lather for 15–20 seconds
  • Rinse hands under running water
  • Dry hands with clean towel

During the lather, pay particular attention to the backs of hands and fingers, fingernails, fingertips and the webbing between fingers.

Hand hygiene is crucial in reducing transmission of infections. It includes both hand washing with plain or antimicrobial soap and water, and use of alcohol-based products (gels, rinses, foams) containing an emollient that do not require the use of water.

If hands are visibly soiled or contaminated with respiratory secretions, wash hands with soap (either non-antimicrobial or antimicrobial) and water.

In the absence of visible soiling of hands, approved alcohol-based products for hand disinfection may be used. Ensure you have facilities for hand washing (i.e. sinks with warm and cold running water, plain or antimicrobial soap, and disposable paper towels) and hand disinfection (i.e. alcohol-based products) readily accessible.