How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Turn on the faucet and grab some soap. You're going to want to practice this.

A good sudsy scrub in the sink is your power move against harmful germs. The reason? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people touch their eyes, mouth or nose about 25 times every hour without even noticing. Think about all the doorknobs, children’s toys, pets or even raw chicken you’ve touched in the last 60 minutes.


Of course, your mom probably taught you how to wash your hands. But since then, experts have found the best hand-washing technique to keep you and yours healthy.

Infographic depicting how to wash your hands.Maggie Roethle/Taste of Home

How to Wash Your Hands the Correct Way

The World Health Organization published a report on hand hygiene that’s 262 pages long! Here’s the hand-washing technique it recommends to get your hands squeaky clean:

  1. Soap up, then rub palms together.
  2. Place right palm on the back of left hand. Interlace fingers, and rub to clean edges of fingers. Switch hands and repeat.
  3. Place palms together. Interlace fingers and rub to clean edges of fingers.
  4. Make a C shape with both hands. Interlock the Cs. Rub back and forth to clean tops of fingers.
  5. Hold left thumb with right palm. Rotate right hand to clean thumb. Switch hands and repeat.
  6. Open left palm. Rub right fingernails back and forth in a circular motion to clean fingernails. Switch hands and repeat.
  7. Rinse hands with water, then dry completely with a towel. If possible, use a towel to turn off the faucet.

Did you follow along at your desk? We thought so. The CDC recommends scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds, which coincidentally happens to be the same as singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Here are some other songs you can stream with 20-second choruses that will help pass the time:

  • “Come On Eileen” (Dexys Midnight Runners)
  • “Landslide” (Fleetwood Mac)
  • “Jolene” (Dolly Parton)

Armed with these tips, you can keep your home cleaner, fresher and safer than ever. Staying healthy feels good, doesn’t it?

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Kristin Sutter
A big fan of homegrown cooking, Kristin has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. She has mastered the art of learning from her inexpert riffs on other people's truly good recipes.