Washing your hands

Washing your hands with soap and water helps to clean off any viruses or bacteria that might be on your hands. If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer instead.

Wash your hands for 20 seconds, using these steps:

  • Wet your hands with water.
  • Get soap and rub it all over your hands into a lather.
  • Scrub everywhere: the fronts and backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Rinse your hands with water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel, or air dry them.

Need help remembering to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds? Try washing your hands while humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice. You also can choose a different song and go to https://washyourlyrics.com/ to create an infographic for yourself.

When to wash your hands to protect yourself against COVID-19:

  • After being around other people, or in a public place.
  • Before and after touching your mask.
  • Before touching your face.
  • Before preparing or eating food.
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick or hurt.
  • After touching things that others might have touched, like door handles, counters, and credit card machines.

Other times to wash your hands:

  • After using the bathroom.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. This includes after you cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • After changing diapers or helping a child use the toilet.
  • After touching pets or animals.
  • After touching garbage.

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