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Keep Hands Clean

This information has been reviewed and approved by to Jared Eddy, MD (June 2024).

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Summary: Keep Hands Clean, Prevent the Spread of Germs

Plain Soap vs. Antibacterial Soap

According to the CDC, soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs.


The Scrub Down: Good Hand Washing Technique

  1. Wet your hands with clean water
  2. Lather your hands with soap, including the backs, under nails and between fingers
  3. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds, long enough to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly
  5. Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry


What About Hand Sanitizer?

  • When soap and water aren't available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Sanitizer can reduce the number of microbes on the skin, but it will not eliminate all types of germs
  • Hands should not be visibly dirty or greasy; soap and water work better in this case
  • Soap and water are still the best way to clean hands


Public Restroom Breakdown

  • 14% Skip hand washing all together
  • 67% Don't use soap at all when hand washing
  • 80% Wash their hands thoroughly enough to kill germs