You should wash your hands after going to the toilet, before preparing food and before and after eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching animals, before touching your face, and when you return home after being out.
Basically you want to wash your hands thoroughly using either liquid or bar soap – they both work just as well – for around 20 seconds or as long as it would take to sing Happy Birthday, through twice.
Here are the ten steps to follow:
- Turn on the tap and wet your hands. Turn off the tap.
- Apply enough soap to cover your hands.
- Rub your hands together lengthways palm to palm.
- Interlace your fingers and rub your palms together from side to side.
- Place your right palm on the back of your left hand, interlacing your fingers and rub your hands up and down against each other lengthways. Repeat with your left palm on the back of your right hand.
- To clean your fingertips and nails: point your elbows out to the sides. Hold your left hand in front of you across your body with the palm facing up. Place your right hand palm down on top of your left in the opposite direction. With palms together, slide your hands slowly apart until the tips of your fingers touch the bottom finger joints on the other hand. Roll your fingers in together to make opposite facing interlocking fists, knuckles fitting snugly into the palm of the other hand. Rub the tips and nails of your fingers firmly into the palm and fingers of the other hand.
- Clasp your left thumb in your right fist and rotate to clean the thumb including the nail. Repeat with the other thumb.
- Clasp your left wrist in your right hand and rotate to wash the whole wrist. Repeat with the other wrist.
- Turn the tap back on and rub your hands together firmly under the running water. The friction helps to remove oils and therefore viruses and bacteria.
- Shake off excess water and dry your hands on a clean single use towel using firm lengthwise towel strokes. Use the towel to turn off the tap.