How to wash hands in 6 steps according to WHO

Niki Salamah

Washing hands properly is crucial to prevent the spread of germs and diseases. WHO (World Health Organization) suggests washing hands using 6 specific steps. Following these steps will ensure that your hands are effectively cleaned and free from harmful microorganisms.

Step 1: Wet your hands

Start by wetting your hands with clean water. Make sure the water is running at a comfortable temperature. Wetting your hands helps to create a lather with soap and ensures that the soap spreads evenly on your hands.

Step 2: Apply soap

Next, apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of your hands. It is recommended to use liquid soap as it effectively reduces the risk of contamination between different users. Ensure that you cover your palms, the back of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails with soap.

Step 3: Rub your palms together

Rub your palms together in a circular motion. This friction helps to create lather and ensures that the soap reaches all areas of your hands. Continue rubbing your palms for at least 20 seconds. This duration is crucial to effectively remove dirt, germs, and viruses from your hands.

Step 4: Interlace your fingers

Interlace your fingers by clasping your hands together. Ensure that your fingers are intertwined so that the soap effectively cleans the gaps between your fingers. Rub your interlaced fingers back and forth for several seconds to thoroughly clean this area.

Step 5: Rub the back of your hands

Next, rub the back of your hands by using the palm of one hand to scrub the back of the other hand. Alternate the hands and continue this motion for a few seconds. This step is important as the back of your hands is often overlooked but can harbor germs and bacteria.

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Step 6: Clean your thumbs and fingertips

Focus on cleaning your thumbs and fingertips as they come into contact with many surfaces. Use a rotational motion to rub your thumb in the opposite closed palm and vice versa. Similarly, rub the tips of your fingers in the opposite palm.

Rinse and dry

After completing these six steps, rinse your hands thoroughly with running water. Make sure to remove all the soapy lather from your skin. Once rinsed, dry your hands with a clean towel, disposable tissue, or an air dryer. The drying process is crucial to remove any remaining moisture where bacteria can thrive.

Remember, washing hands can help prevent the transmission of various infections, including COVID-19. Make it a habit to wash your hands regularly, especially before eating, after using the restroom, after coughing or sneezing, or when your hands are visibly dirty. By following the WHO’s 6-step handwashing technique, you can protect yourself and others from harmful germs and stay healthy.

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