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Top tips for effective hand washing

Hand washing
  • Date published:

  • Author: alexmantle

Handwashing is one of the most important things we can all do to help stop the spread of germs.

It’s important that children know how to wash their hands often enough and with the right technique.

The NHS has produced this short video on how to wash your hands:

It’s advised that we wash our hands with water and soap for approximately 20 seconds, which is the equivalent of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.

There are other songs you can sing along to for the same amount of time – for example the Alphabet song.

H—I—J—K, L-M-N-O-P
Q—R—S, T—U—V
W—X, Y, and Z
Now I know my ABC
Next time won’t you sing with me?

Following 10 simple steps will help to ensure children are using the right technique when washing their hands:

  1. Wet your hands
  2. Apply enough soap to cover your hands
  3. Rub your hands together
  4. Use one hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand
  5. Rub your hands together and clean in between your fingers
  6. Rub the back of your fingers against your palms
  7. Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb
  8. Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with other hand
  9. Rinse your hands with water
  10. Dry your hands completely

How to hand wash - step by step images

Click here to see a PDF version of the diagram.

Hand sanitisers

Hand sanitisers should only be used if you don’t have access to soap and water to wash hands.  The alcohol in sanitisers can dry the skin on your hands if they are used regularly.  Soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs.

Sore hands

Frequent hand washing can cause skin to become dry. If this starts to happen, keep the skin moisturised as it can soon become sore and cracked.  Using an unscented moisturiser on your hands after washing will keep the skin healthy and soft.