60 Handwashing Is Your Superpower

Training & Education Handwashing CDC
Training & Education Handwashing CDC from www.cdc.gov


Handwashing is a simple yet powerful act that can protect you and those around you from a range of illnesses and infections. In fact, it can be considered your superpower in the fight against germs. In this article, we will explore the importance of handwashing, the proper technique to follow, and the benefits it brings to your health and well-being. So, let's dive in and discover how handwashing can empower you to stay healthy and keep others safe.

The Importance of Handwashing

Preventing the Spread of Germs

One of the primary reasons handwashing is essential is its ability to prevent the spread of germs. Our hands come into contact with various surfaces throughout the day, picking up bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens along the way. By washing our hands regularly, we can eliminate these germs and reduce the risk of transmitting them to ourselves and others.

Reducing the Risk of Infections

By practicing proper hand hygiene, you can significantly reduce the risk of infections. Many common illnesses, such as colds, flu, and gastrointestinal infections, are caused by germs that enter the body through contaminated hands. Regular handwashing can help break the cycle of infection and keep you healthy.

The Proper Handwashing Technique

Wet Your Hands

Start by wetting your hands with clean, running water. Adjust the water temperature to your preference, ensuring it is not too hot to avoid scalding.

Apply Soap

Apply a sufficient amount of soap to your hands. It is recommended to use either liquid soap or bar soap, as both are effective in removing germs. Avoid using antibacterial soap unless specifically directed by a healthcare professional, as regular soap is equally effective.

Create a Lather

Rub your hands together to create a lather. Make sure to cover all surfaces, including the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. This friction helps to loosen and remove dirt, germs, and oils from your skin.

Scrub for at Least 20 Seconds

Continue scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. You can use a timer or mentally sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice to ensure you meet this recommended timeframe. This duration allows enough time for the soap to work its magic and eliminate most germs.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Ensure all soap and lather are completely washed away.

Dry Your Hands

Use a clean towel or air dryer to dry your hands thoroughly. If using a towel, pat your hands gently rather than rubbing, as excessive rubbing can cause irritation.

Turn Off the Tap

Turn off the tap using a towel or tissue to avoid recontaminating your freshly cleaned hands. This step is often overlooked but is crucial in maintaining hand hygiene.

The Benefits of Handwashing

Protection Against Illnesses

Regular handwashing provides a layer of protection against a wide range of illnesses, including respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, and skin infections. By washing your hands, you can significantly reduce your chances of falling ill.

Preventing Antibiotic Resistance

Proper hand hygiene also plays a vital role in preventing antibiotic resistance. When we wash our hands, we eliminate germs that may be resistant to antibiotics, reducing the likelihood of these resistant strains spreading and causing severe infections.

Promoting Overall Hygiene

Handwashing is an essential part of overall hygiene. By incorporating this practice into our daily routine, we become more conscious of cleanliness and are more likely to adopt other healthy habits, such as covering our mouths when coughing or sneezing.

Setting a Good Example

When we prioritize handwashing, we set a positive example for those around us, especially children. By demonstrating the importance of proper hand hygiene, we encourage others to follow suit and contribute to a healthier community.

When to Wash Your Hands

Before and After Preparing Food

Before handling food, it is crucial to wash your hands to prevent the transfer of germs to the food you are about to cook or eat. Additionally, after handling raw meat, poultry, or fish, handwashing is necessary to avoid cross-contamination.

After Using the Restroom

After using the restroom, always wash your hands thoroughly. This step is essential to remove any harmful bacteria that may have been present on surfaces in the restroom.

Before and After Caring for Someone Who is Ill

If you are caring for someone who is ill, it is vital to wash your hands before and after providing care. This practice helps protect both you and the person you are caring for from potentially harmful germs.

After Sneezing, Coughing, or Blowing Your Nose

Whenever you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose, wash your hands immediately afterward. These actions can spread germs through respiratory droplets, which can then be picked up by your hands.

After Touching Animals or Animal Waste

Animals, including household pets, can carry germs. After petting an animal or cleaning up after them, it is essential to wash your hands to prevent the transmission of any potential pathogens.


Handwashing is a simple yet powerful practice that should be incorporated into our daily lives. By washing our hands regularly and following proper handwashing techniques, we can protect ourselves and others from harmful germs, reduce the risk of infections, and contribute to a healthier community. Remember, handwashing is your superpower in the fight against illness, so make it a priority and stay healthy!