Correct Hand Washing Technique

Correct hand washing techniques must be observed within the healthcare environment. Hospital and care home staff are always under pressure in their work, but simply running hands under the tap is not enough - even if you quickly use soap. It is very easy to miss areas of your hands where bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms can congregate.

What are the most frequently missed areas when hand washing?

  • Thumbs
  • Finger nails
  • In between fingers

What are the correct hand washing steps?

  1. Wet hands with water
  2. Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces
  3. Rub hands palm to palm
  4. Rub back of each hand with palm of other hand with fingers interlaced
  5. Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  6. Rub with back of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
  7. Rub each thumb clasped in opposite hand using a rotational movement
  8. Rub tips of fingers in opposite palm in a circular motion
  9. Rub each wrist with opposite hand
  10. Rinse hands with water
  11. Dry thoroughly with a single-use towel

Did you know, it takes 15 to 30 seconds to wash your hands properly? This is about how long it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday To You' twice!


These directions were adapted from the World Health Organisation 'Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare.'

Hand Washing

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