When and How to Use Hand Wash and Hand Sanitiser

In a recent blog post, we delved into the differences of hand washing vs hand sanitising and discussed which is best. Here, we look at the guidance of when to wash and sanitise and exactly how to do it.

When should I wash my hands?

You should always wash your hands:

  • After going to the toilet, changing a nappy or cleaning a child who has used the toilet
  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill with vomiting or diarrhoea
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Before or after handling raw food e.g. meat or vegetables
  • Before eating or handling food
  • After touching rubbish or emptying bins
  • After touching animals. This includes pets, their food and after cleaning their cages or waste.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also strongly advised to wash hands:

  • Before and after touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Before and after touching your mask
  • Before entering and after leaving a public place
  • Before and after touching a surface or item that may be frequently touched by other members of the public e.g. door handles, tables, petrol pumps, shopping baskets or trolleys, cash machines or any ticket machines or payment devices

Regularly cleaning your phone is also a good idea as touch screens and phone cases are commonly touched surfaces.

How should I wash my hands?

Follow these steps every time you wash your hands

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply enough soap to cover your hands.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Use one hand to rub the back of the other hand and inbetween your fingers. Do the same with the other hand.
  3. Rub the back of your fingers against the opposing palms.
  4. Clean your thumbs
  5. Wash your fingernails and fingertips
  6. Repeat above for at least 20 seconds Tip: Try humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  7. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  8. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If there is no accessible soap or water for hand washing, it is recommended to use hand sanitiser with a minimum 60% alcohol content.