Washing your hands is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to prevent the spread of pathogens and avoid getting an infection. The key times to wash your hands include after using the toilet or changing a nappy, before eating or handling food, after sneezing or coughing, before and after treating a wound, and after touching an animal.

To wash your hands using the correct technique, first wet them with clean, running water, this can be warm or cold. Apply enough soap to cover your hands and begin by rubbing them together. 

Rub the back of one hand with the other to clean in between your fingers, before repeating on the other hand. Next, rub your palms together and clean in between your fingers. Rub the back of the fingers and knuckles against each of your palms, then hold your thumb and twist before repeating with the other hand. Finally rub the tips of your fingers on the opposite palm and rinse with clean water.

Dry your hands completely – preferably with a disposable towel – before turning off the tap with the same towel. The entire process should last 20 seconds, which is the length of ‘Happy Birthday’ sung twice.

To see the correct way to wash your hands, watch our animation.